LAHORE: Imran Khan, in a surprising revelation, yesterday claimed the ruling party can make bids to steal the by-election even in the presence of army and Rangers. The PTI chairman who had expressed readiness to accept the polling results if the army and Rangers troops were deployed to monitor the election took a new position, raising a question mark on the monitoring capabilities of the two security forces. The Election Commission, conceding Mr Khan’s demand, had sought the services of the two security forces. Imran, in a suspicious tone, told reporters that he still doubted PML-N could attempt to rig the by-polls even in the presence of army and Rangers.

In a press conference, he said, “I have all trust in the chief election commissioner, but the four provincial representatives of the election authority are the same who supervised the rigging during the 2013 general elections. I will decide next line of action against the Election Commission after the announcement of results of the by-election,” said the PTI chief. He, however added, “The voters will get money from the ruling party, but use their ballot in favour of PTI.” He said the services of the Asian Development Bank should be sought for the audit of Nandipur Power Project. The Nandipur project cost the kitty an amount of Rs 82 billion and worked only for five days, he remarked.

“The ruling party has inflicted heavy losses to the tune of Rs 980 billion on the national kitty in terms of power theft and corruption,” Imran maintained. He quoted the Nepra report that power theft had caused loss of Rs 20 billion to the distribution companies. The authority had overbilled the electricity consumers to cover the losses of power theft. “The circular debt has touched the amount of Rs 600 billion as compared to the PPP government’s Rs 480 billion and Rs 200 billion in the Musharraf regime,” he added. Then PTI chief accused the ruling family of using Rs six billion of public funds for the construction of roads leading to ‘Raiwind palace’. “The Metro Bus project was completed in Lahore at a cost of $ 11 million per kilometer. The same was completed in China with $ 4.11 million per kilometer and India accomplished the task in Ahmedabad Metro with $3 million per kilometer,” he maintained,” he revealed.

He remarked had the Punjab government not wasted Rs 500 billion on Danish schools, facilities at 21,000 public sector schools could have been improved. “There is no electricity in 61 percent public schools, 38 percent have no clean drinking water and 35 percent are working without toilets,” he claimed. “More than 70 percent schools don’t have the facility of clean drinking water in Lahore. Four patients are being accommodated on a single bed in public hospitals,” Imran maintained.

The PTI chief claimed: “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can be really beneficial if it is linked through Dera Ismael Khan which is a short route to connect it with Pakistan. But the ruling family for personal business benefits is carving a longer route for the corridor. This move will not only cause financial losses to the country but also affect ties with Baloch people who are already accusing Punjab of injustices to them.” Meanwhile, Imran Khan yesterday toured parts of NA-122 and PP-147 in his last-ditch efforts for the victory of his candidates in October 11 by-elections. This was the third visit of Khan in the provincial capital in connection with canvassing for his candidates. He formally opened the by-election drive on September 30 and led a rally from Railaway Phattak Dharampura up to Mugalpura Chowk.

The PTI chairman visited Hazrat Mianmir shrine situated in Dharampura, which is part of NA-122 and PP-147. Though Khan had a short stay for security reasons, he shook hands with several persons in the crowd that had gathered at the shrine to meet him. On his arrival at the shrine, the party workers welcomed him by showering rose petals on his car and chanting slogans “Go Nawaz Go” and “Prime Minister Imran Khan”. Khan told his supporters that his mother was buried in Mian Mir graveyard. He also visited farmhouse of his party leader, Mian Aslam Iqbal. In another tour, he visited the residence of PML-Q city chapter president Mian Munir who is canvassing for the PTI NA-122 candidate. Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen, a religio-political party that extended support to PTI NA-122 candidate a few days back held a meeting of the party organisers of Imambargahs, majalis azadaran and elders to express support for Aleem Khan. They deputed the organisers to go door-to-door and to ask the members of their sect to reach the polling stations on October 11 to vote for Khan’s candidate.