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Rawalpindi commissioner’s allegations receive mixed responses

  • February 17, 2024

“Anyone can level allegations, but one needs to back it with evidence,” says top judge

Rawalpindi Division Commissioner Liaqat Ali Chatha talks to journalists on February 17, 2024. — Geo News
Rawalpindi Division Commissioner Liaqat Ali Chatha talks to journalists on February 17, 2024. — Geo News  

Rawalpindi Division Commissioner Liaqat Ali Chatha’s startling revelations about the alleged massive rigging during the February 8 general election took the internet by storm.

In a dramatic development, the commissioner tendered his resignation, which he said was out of “guilty conscience” for abetting electoral rigging in the garrison city further raising the political mercury in the country.

Reacting to his statement, Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa demanded evidence of his involvement in the rigging of the February 8 elections after the commissioner levelled serious allegations against the top judge and other authorities.

Categorically rejecting the allegations that he was in any way involved with the commissioner, property tycoon Malik Riaz said he never met Chatha and offered cooperation for investigations in this regard.

Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, said: “The Commissioner Rawalpindi’s claims about ballot rigging is a bombshell.”

Taking to his X handle, formerly known as Twitter, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohammad Zubair said: “No way for PML-N but to publicly accept defeat and let the country move on.”     

He was of the view that the crisis deepened with the commissioner’s resignation. 

Senior journalist Zarrar Khuhro called for respecting the commissioner for “boldly speaking the truth”.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Qasim Khan Suri said that Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa should resign after the commissioner’s allegations.

Rejecting the allegations, PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi said that the commissioner tried to destabilise Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rejected the claims made by the commissioner, stating that no official of the commission gave any direction to him regarding the manipulation of results.

The Punjab government’s spokesperson also rejected the allegation of rigging by the senior official.

Speaking to Geo News, caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir said that this is neither a revelation nor a confession of the crime, this is a claim and an allegation to harm the credibility of the elections.

Responding to the claims, PTI leader Ali Muhammad Khan said that the commissioner took a major step today and his allegations prove that their mandate has been stolen.

“They have stolen our seats and now our demand is simple. We want the chief justice to take suo motu notice of this matter, the Election Commission should correct its mistake and our mandate should be given back to us,” he said while speaking to Geo News.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader Sherry Rehman said that an investigation into serious allegations should take place.

“The question arises that Rawalpindi commissioner’s conscience woke up after 10 days,” she said.

“The commissioner said that he was under social media and overseas Pakistanis’ pressure,” said the senator, adding that his allegations have raised questions on the elections of the entire district.

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