ISLAMABAD  -  Opposition alliance of major political parties on Wednesday staged demonstration to protest against alleged rigging in 25 July general elections.

The protest held in front of the central secretariat of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was first by the opposition parties since last month’s polls, and the alliance decided to continue their protest in and outside of the parliament.

The decision to hold the protest was made by the newly formed 11-party grand opposition alliance, named ‘Pakistan Alliance for Free and Fair Elections’, at a multi-party conference held here last week.

The opposition alliance announced they will hold a similar protest outside the offices of the provincial election commissions today (Thursday) and organise a national conference on ‘rigging’, besides a public meeting after forthcoming Eidul Azha.

Workers of each political party led by their leaders reached outside the ECP in the shape of rallies while chanting slogans of their respective political parties and against the elections that their leaderships have dubbed as ‘selection’ and ‘fraud’.

Besides PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, a number of top leaders of the opposition parties attended the protest demonstration.

PML-N was represented by it central leaders as party president Shehbaz Sharif could not make it to Islamabad on time due to bad weather.

The protest leaders focused their addresses on the rigging issue and their future course of action. They demanded immediate resignation of the election commission. They also called for establishment of a high-powered commission to probe the allegations of rigging.

MMA chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in his address said, “The only reason why all political parties have joined hands today is failure of the ECP in conducting free and fair elections.” He said they will not accept a ‘fake PM’.

PPP central leader Qamar Zama Kaira asked the Chief Election Commissioner to step down saying that an early resignation would be better for him.

Former interior minister and PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said the 25 July elections were fraud and PML-N rejects the results. He said the ‘rigging leader’ will be exposed soon.

He warned that those who think protestors dissipate without getting their demand fulfilled are mistaken. “We will not allow anyone to rob masses of their right to rule. We will continue to protest until a leadership representative of masses’ will [rules the country],” he said.

Iqbal also slammed Imran, saying he had earlier promise recounts in constituencies but is now opposing recount in his own constituency.

PPP central leader Syed Khursheed Shah and QWP Chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao also dubbed the general elections as fraud.

PML-N leader Javed Hashmi demanded establishment of an independent commission to probe the rigging allegations.

PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai and ANP central leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain also addressed the gathering.

Earlier speaking to the media, PML-N Senator Raja Zafarul Haq and PPP central leader and former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani said the opposition parties have rejected the results of the election.

“We want to tell the world that our people have rejected the election,” Gillani said, calling the July 25 polls ‘mother of all rigged elections’.

Senator Sherry Rehman of PPP demanded that the Chief Election Commissioner resign for failing to hold free and fair election.



Opp protests ‘rigging’ in elections


Maqbool Malik