Pakistan People’s Party leader Saeed Ghani has denied rigging allegations levelled by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan following his victory from Karachi’s PS-114 constituency on July 9.

On Thursday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) stayed the notification of the by-election result declaring Ghani victorious after MQM-P’s rigging complaint. A further hearing will be held by the election tribunal on Monday.

Speaking outside the ECP on Friday, Ghani denied accusations that the police had taken over some polling stations at his behest, saying the polling stations mentioned by the MQM-P had presence of Rangers and media throughout the polling day.

Ghani also denied that he had directed the changing of some polling stations, saying returning officer did change some polling stations but that was done at the request of other parties.

He challenged the opposition party to prove their allegations that he used state machinery for his benefit. “MQM is the same as it was before. There is no difference between ‘London’ and ‘Pakistan,’” he claimed, adding that both factions worked together during the PS-114 by-elections.

Ghani said it was for the first time in Karachi’s history that such a transparent election had occurred.

He also cautioned the ECP to avoid such frivolous objections, saying otherwise the 2018 general elections would be marred with controversy as everyone would end up challenging results on one pretext or the other.

MQM has requested the ECP to order a recount in the entire constituency and the National Database and Registration Authority to verify thumb impressions of all voters.

Ghani emerged victorious in PS-114 by bagging 23,840 votes, unofficial and unconfirmed results from all 92 polling stations suggested.

Ghani was followed by MQM-P’s Kamran Tessori, who secured 18,106 votes. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Ali Akbar Gujjar stood third with 7,175 votes to his credit, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Najeeb Haroon bagged 5,942 votes.