PESHAWAR - Rejecting allegations of government’s involvement in the Local Bodies (LB) polls’ rigging, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Wednesday said that his government was ready to hold re-elections but it was responsibility of the Election Commission to take any decision in this regard. “Declaring the entire elections, as null and void is not job of provincial government, as the Election Commission of Pakistan authorises to take any final decision in this regard,” Khattak said this while addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister House, Peshawar.  

He clarified that as per constitution, the provincial government did not intervene into the electoral process. He said his government was ready to go for fresh Local Bodies polls in KP and expressed confidence that PTI will emerge in stronger position after the re-election. The chief minister slammed the Election Commission for mismanagement, irregularities, and disorder in conduct of recent Local Bodies elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “Why will the provincial government take such step, which makes the whole electoral process controversial,” he asked. He informed that around 135 violence incidents have been occurred in Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera, Mardan, and Swabi. Similarly, he said in Hazara division 85 violence incidents, southern districts 103 and 12 incidents reported in Malakand division. He blamed the Election Commission for all this mayhem and violence.

Jamaat Islami leader and KP Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said Advocate, Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP) Chief and KP Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai, KP Minister for Information Mushtaq Ghani, Minister for Excise and Taxation Mian Jamshaddin, Speaker KP Assembly Asad Qaiser, PTI MNA, MPAs, and others were also present during the press conference.

He said it was quite difficult to conduct Local Bodies elections on so large scale without the supervision of Pakistan Army, as police could not fully maintain law and order during the polls.

For this purpose, he said: “We had demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) through a communiqué to deploy Pakistan Army at polling stations but it did not pay attention to our demand.”  He said if we were timely informed that Pakistan Army was not coming for security of polling stations then elections could be cancelled in the province.

He reminded that a unanimous resolution was also passed by the provincial assembly to conduct polling process under the supervision of Pakistan Army. “Those blaming the provincial government for indulgence in rigging in the elections should come with solid proofs,” he asked. He informed that the provincial government will issue a white paper following completion of Local Bodies polls’ process, which will expose all those elements who are involved in rigging, misconduct and mismanagement during the elections.

Khattak said the provincial government was also ready to conduct probe into mismanagement, alleged rigging and disorder through the formation of a judicial commission or Joint investigation team (JIT). He, however, said the final decision would take Election Commission of Pakistan, whether it will go for entire re-elections, or will give any other solution.

Referring to the arrest of ANP leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain, he said that PTI being a democratic party did not believe in political victimisation. He said the First Investigation Report (FIR) was registered against Mian Iftikhar on the demand of angry mob.

Addressing on the occasion, KP Ministers Shahram Tarakai and Muzzafar Said Advocate fully endorsed the KP chief minister’s stance and rejected the allegations that the KP government was involved in the alleged rigging in the LG polls.

Muzaffar Said said the provincial government had nothing do with the LG polls and allegations of rigging against it were completely wrong and based on mala fide intentions. He demanded re-elections on announced polling stations under supervision of Pakistan Army.

Shaharam Tarakai said that as per constitution, the provincial government did not intervene into the electoral process. He blamed the ANP for besieging polling stations and creating disorder under pre-plan during the LG polls especially in his native area of Swabi.