­LAHORE - The PML-N has announced a comprehensive and effective Anti-Rigging System (ARS) for exposing and preventing any attempt to rig elections on July 25.

This was announced by Chairman of the PML-N Central Media Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, at a press conference at the PML-N party secretariat yesterday.

He also announced that a national conference of social media activists and chief polling agents would be held on July 19 in Lahore, which would include training programme for chief polling agents from all constituencies where PML-N candidates are contesting.

Senator Mushahid said that apart from PML-N, PPP and some other political parties, have publicly complained about attempts for rigging, interference, intimidation, manipulation, political engineering, as well as harassment and nepotism through abuse of office and undue official influence.

He said, “All these acts amount to blatant violation of the code of conduct issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan and the election laws and those officials who indulge in such malpractices are willfully violating oath of their office. Such negative practices undermine free, fair and transparent electoral process. These acts also make elections controversial, since a level playing field is not provided.”

In this context, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed cited a recurring pattern of behaviour that is targeting the PML-N leadership through a systematic effort to block Nawaz League’s legitimate political activities during the election period. The latest example of which is the framing of cases, including provisions from the anti-terrorism act, against its leadership and activists during the July 13th mass mobilization rally in Lahore. At least 130 cases have been registered against 16, 868 PML-N workers and activists. He said that three-time prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif was facing a trial in jail which was unprecedented for political leaders. As per law, he should be tried in open court. “Only high profile terrorists are tried in jailsl,” Mushahid maintained.

He unveiled features of the anti rigging system (ARS), which is the first time in country’s political history that a national political party has formally launched a comprehensive system to counter rigging. Its notable features include linkage between candidates, constituencies, legal aid committees, social media teams and election observers, backed by a hotline number where complaints about rigging will be recorded and addressed in accordance with law. Legal action will also be taken against individuals found involved in rigging in any form, including officials who violate their oath of office or the law of the land – they will be publicly named and their illegal activities will be exposed.

 For the effective implementation of the ARS, the PML-N has also decided to convene a national conference of social media activists and chief polling agents on July 19, at the PML-N election headquarters. 

Senator Mushahid also invited other political parties, civil society organizations, media, human rights groups and all the democratic forces to join hands with PML-N in promoting the cause of countering rigging so that the sanctity of the ballot should be preserved and protected.