Pakistan: Imran Khan says election body turned blind eye over Punjab bypolls

PTI leader thanks voters after reports of winning most of the seats in Punjab’s by-elections for 20 constituencies


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Voters cast their votes during Punjab by-election. — APP
Voters cast their votes during Punjab by-election. — APP

Published: Mon 18 Jul 2022, 12:06 AM

As voting for Punjab’s by-elections for 20 constituencies ended, former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leader Imran Khan has accused the provincial government of using the state machinery to rig the by-polls while calling upon the courts to “open now and act”.

Taking to Twitter on Sunday, Iman Khan thanked the voters. “I want to first thank our PTI workers & voters of Punjab for defeating not just PMLN candidates but the entire state machinery, esp harassment by police, & a totally biased ECP. Thank you to all our Allies, PMLQ, MWM & Sunni Ittehad Council,” he said.

Earlier, Imran highlighted the incidents that took place throughout Sunday, including the “use of government and state machinery to rig the election, illegal ballot stamping, harassment of voters, and arrests of PTI leaders.

“Today Punjab govt has brazenly violated SC orders & election rules by openly using all govt/State machinery to rig Punjab elections through illegal ballot stamping & harrassing voters while arresting PTI ldrs. Through it all, the ECP turned a blind eye. Courts must open now & act,” he said.

All major local media channels are reporting that the country’s former Prime Minister’s PTI is leading in 17 seats of the 20 provincial seats.

As per these reports, the massive alliance of big leaders like prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice-president Maryam Nawaz, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is nearing a big defeat in the province.

There are only two seats where PML-N is leading and 1 seat for Independent.

Punjab was under the control of the PTI party until April when then-Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar resigned after the federal parliament took up a no-confidence against Khan.

The PTI’s subsequent nominee for the position was defeated as a faction among the party’s state lawmakers voted for the PML-N’s candidate instead.

Khan then successfully petitioned the Election Commission of Pakistan to remove the state assembly lawmakers for illegally voting against the party’s directive, leaving 20 seats vacant.

It will be a close race as Sharif’s party currently holds 165 seats while PTI controls 163. Sharif controls the assembly with coalition members.

The polling began at 8am and continued till 5pm but in several districts polling was stopped due to clashes, reported Dunya News.

PTI leader Shahbaz Gill was arrested from Muzaffargarh for allegedly carrying and displaying weapons on his visit to polling stations during the by-elections.

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