KARACHI: The election boycott on allegations of rigging by political parties -Jamaat-e-Islami, Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Sunni Tehreek, Sunni Ittehad Council and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan – converted into protest demonstrations, though not creating any law and order situation.
Besides, allegations of rigging from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) have raised questions on credibility of free and fair general election in economic hub of the country. Almost all political parties have claimed they became a victim of rigging in all polling stations of Karachi as miscreants snatched away their votebank forcefully, alleging that law enforcement agencies supported criminals to hijack the mandate.
Similarly, the polling process in NA-250 has been suspended due to mismanagement, lack of staff and essential items and numerous complaints of rigging received by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). In this regard, ECP has also announced for re polling in the constituency. Besides the announcement, ECP has also admitted their failure to conduct free and fair election in Karachi. “Despite accepting the failure for not conducting fair polls in the metropolis, the statement of greetings to nation by Chief Election Commission (CEC) Fakhruddin G Ibrahim on Saturday late night was totally out of context, particularly for citizen of Karachi, who were bludgeoned by ‘Thapa Mafia’ to vote a candidate against their choice.” In this regard, people also uploaded rigging videos and images of Thapa Mafia. It was reported that in many polling stations, residing officers and staff were also allegedly involved in rigging, however, some were of the view that they have been threaten to support.
Moreover, Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters and workers staged sit-in protest at Teen Talwar, where a large number of supporters particularly youth participated and chanted slogans against rigging in constituencies. Supporters were not present only on the road but they were also present in balconies of adjacent apartments. Protesters were holding flags of Pakistan and PTI along with bat in hands. The participants were mostly youngsters. They were chanting slogans, “Kon banai gaa naya Pakistan, Imran Khan Imran Khan.” (Who will create new Pakistan, Imran Khan Imran Khan)
Speakers while addressing the demonstrators said MQM had hijacked mandate of Karachi forcefully. “We will not accept the result of unfair election,” they said, adding that PTI supporters were in majority particularly from constituency of NA-250 but rigging and biased behaviour of residing officers at polling stations destroyed dream of fair and free election of Karachiites.
Jamaat-e-Islami leader, the candidate of PS-113, Engr Abdul Aziz, who was also present on the occasion, said JI had accepted PTI as the second largest political party of Pakistan. “Citizens have witnessed the terrorism and rigging of MQM on May 11,” he said, adding that they have boycotted election due to massive rigging therefore election should be held again on fair basis. He said that they would not allow anybody to hijack election.
Talking to Daily Times, he said, “They will run campaign for re-polling in different constituencies.” He said the party would fill petition against CEC in courts with proof of rigging, adding that they would face and tackle every hurdle in way of re polling station on fair basis. PTI and JI has faced same situation throughout the city but CEC issued greeting message to the nation. “We are standing along with PTI on this issue,” Aziz regretted.
A protester, Asif Abdullah, 38, said that he completely apolitical but being a responsible citizen, he came to the protest against massive rigging. “I am affected by terrorism and will not allow criminals to rule on us for more five years,” Aziz said. A lady, Samina Khalid, 28, asserted, “Residing officer at my polling station did not allow me to vote for PTI.” She said the staff threatened her to go silently from the polling station, she said, adding that she would fight for her right till last breath under the flag of PTI.
Khalid was of the view that residing officer was emphatically supporting MQM, whereas, the law enforcement agencies were backing them. Ali Imran, 24, informed Daily Times that he was supporter of independent candidate Jibbran Nasir of NA-250 and joined the protest against MQM. “In this kind of situation, rigging is inevitable,” he said, adding that being an honest citizen re polling should be conducted in Karachi.
Similarly, another supporter of independent applicant of constituency, Tahir Rizwan said that he was there just to protest against so called fair and free election. “I and my friends are demanding re-polling, which is our right.” The protesters staged a demonstration almost five hours on the street, which also caused traffic problems. PTI songs and Imran Khan’s speeches were played intermittently at the protest.
Moreover, Democratic Workers Federation (DWF) Leader Liaquat Sahi, in the statement said, “Boycott from political parties have exposed the faces of Thapa Mafia.” He said that ECP had not fulfilled its promises about ensuring free and fair election. ‘Thapa Mafia’ worked for their favourite candidate at polling stations, he said, adding that ECP took no action despite its promises to do so.
“The general election 2013 in Karachi has broken all the records of rigging,” he claimed. He demanded of the ECP to conduct election in the metropolis again, which must be free and fair. Sahid further demanded to conduct re polling across the city under supervision of army, which should be deployed at polling stations, so that citizens could cast their vote without any fear.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi chief Muhammad Hussain Mehanti announced to observe ‘Black Day’ on May 11 (today) against rigging and unfair election. Earlier JI had given a strike call across city which was later withdrawn. He said that people of Karachi, by arriving at polling stations, fulfilled their responsibility of being a true citizen but unfortunately the real mandate had been hijacked by criminals. He was of the view that ECP confessed that it failed to conduct free and fair election in the provincial capital, which is confession by them.
JI also announced to hold protest at front of Karachi Press Club on Monday (today). Mehanti said that CEC had ignored demands of deployment of army at polling stations caused nothing, except rigging and terrorism at polling sites. – Dailytimes