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Imran Khan is lying about election rigging and its aftermath

PTI’s  Azadi march is the hot selling news on media these days. From newspapers to television programs, the focus is on PTI’s march, its aims and objectives and its chances of success. Little is being talked about the main reason of the march, the rigging in general elections of 2013.

While there are no doubts that rigging was done by candidates in their strongholds throughout Pakistan and that election commission was unable to ensure a 100% fair and free election, it can be argued that the elections were not rigged massively by a third force to support a particular party and that the rigging didn’t affect the results to the extent that a re-election is needed instead of individual decisions by election tribunals as stated in the 1973 constitution.

So far, most facts presented by PTI and Imran Khan as the basis for a need for re-election and Azadi march are either completely fabricated or not substantial enough for the assemblies to be broken and the parliament to go home. I present in this article some of these facts and request Imran Khan or any other PTI leaderto refute them.

Speaking at a public rally in Bahawalpur, Imran Khan claimed that soon after the “victory speech” of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, the data operators of UNDP stopped sending computerised result copies to the ECP as they were forced to exit from offices of returning officers and their computers were shut down. PTI chief further claimed that the operators were told by the returning officers to slow down, and later handwritten results were sent to the ECP to manipulate results and cause the defeat of PTI candidates.

First, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)  denied Imran’s claim that a UNDP election result gathering project was halted after Nawaz Sharif’s speech. Then UNDP’s country director Marc-Andre Franche also insisted that none of its computers was shut down after the victory speech of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, as alleged by Imran Khan. “On May 11, 2013 (election day), six UNDP consultants provided technical assistance to returning officers in relation to the new computerised result management system. None of the consultants reported being ejected from the offices of returning officers or witnessing their computers being shut down,” Marc-Andre Franche said while replying to the queries sent by different newspapers.

Imran Khan has failed to apologize from the nation in general and his supporters in particular for this lie.

PTI has also lied about various other facts related to rigging in 2013 elections. The most important one being that election tribunals failed to decide their cases upto now and justice is being delayed. 292 out of 410 petitions filed by candidates from various parties, i.e., 73 per cent of all cases, have already been decided by election tribunals. For the remaining cases, they have remained slow mainly because of attitude of losing candidates of different parties including PTI. Take for example, the case of petition number 344 of 2013, Usman Dar vs Khawaja Asif. In its decision, the tribunal wrote: “The way the petitioner avoided to enter the witness box and disregarded the directions of this tribunal on the pretext of business tour abroad, provides a basis to infer that he was/is no more interested in the matter. Costs of adjournments to the tune of Rs30,000/- have not been paid by the petitioner till date. It appears that after filing the election petition, the petitioner lost interest in the election dispute and then attempted to prolong the trial … the petitioner failed to prove the allegations … (and) the election petition is found to be without any merit and is accordingly dismissed … .”

This shows that most of the genuine petitions have been taken care of and the remaining ones might just be a tool for the political stunt coming on 14 August. Even if it is considered that the remaining petitions are genuine, of them only 19 are from PTI and even if all are decided in favor of PTI, it will not affect the numbers in parliament to a decisive extent.

Thus far, 10 elected parliamentarians of the PML-N have been unseated by the election tribunals.  Interestingly none of these 10 petitions were filed by PTI candidates. Infact, Judgments in two petitions have gone against PTI candidates and rigging has been proved against them too.Independent candidates are the biggest winners thus far with eight cases in their favour, followed by the PPP at six which shows a trend that there was no big rigging by a third force to keep PTI from ‘clean sweeping’ the elections. Imran Khan also claimed repeatedly that PML-N rigged elections to defeat the PTI’s Jahangir Tareen in NA-154. But it is interesting to note that the PML-N candidate here also lost the election. The winner was an independent candidate, Mohammad Siddik Baloch. If the PML-N wanted to rig this seat, why would its candidate come a distant third? Is Imran Khan just finding a reason to blame PML-N while the agenda is to get popular public support for a re-election?

It is a matter of shame that a leader of a popular party can go away with such lies without accountability. Will PTI supporters ever ask Imran Khan to argue on these facts presented in this article? Is Azadi march justified when the basic reason for march that this parliament came as a result of rigging is mere propaganda?

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