Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, PTI’s central organiser Jahangir Tareen said that PML-N had made its victory possible through rigging with the help of the federal government and its representatives. Of course the PTI alleged that the victory of PML-N in recent elections in Gilgit-Baltistan was a result of massive rigging, this much was expected. And even if they are right, what should happen now? More tribunals? More re-elections. Rigging is a beast that nobody can seem to put down and the Election Commission has emerged to be the most useless and fallible institution of our times.

In the case of Gilgit-Baltistan the PML-N started with appointing its own governor months before the election and appointed 10 ministers supportive of PML-N (instead of the usual 5-6 ministers). It managed to appoint an Election Commissioner of its own choosing and announced a Rs 7 billion development package after the announcement of the election schedule. These were enough reasons for the PTI and the PPP to cry foul and there is nothing free or fair about such elections. But then the PTI decided to fight fire with fire (and still suffered losses to the PML-N juggernaut).

Admittedly the PTI is struggling to bring in some practical reforms and make people politically aware about how status quo parties have been rigging elections. Because of the PTI there is awareness about the number of ballot papers, quality of ink, form 15, ROs and PO’s duties etc. Most recently NADRA’s data of pre-scan reports from 40 different constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies that shows that thousands of votes had unrecognizable finger prints or wrong CNIC numbers in all of the constituencies. Rigging was either conducted at a mass scale, or NADRA’s fingerprint matching system is flawed (or both). This being said, the PTI needs to overhaul its own ideology and strategy. It is time for a new plan (Plan G, H, I, J… wherever they are on the alphabet now). Wherever PTI wins the election is not rigged, wherever they lose the election is rigged. And wasn’t Jahangir Tareen himself blamed for rigging by an independent judge appointed by his own party chairman? The rigging mantra is getting old and backfiring now. Their own party is not unblemished anymore and cannot pretend to be the bastion of all things good and uncorrupted, even though the PML-N may we worse, and is almost shameless in it resistance to change and fair play.