PESHAWAR - While expressing serious reservations over NA-4 Peshawar by-election results, the Awami National Party (ANP) on Friday lashed out at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for critical lapses and oversights during the whole process leading to the polls.

Flanked by ANP losing candidate Khushdil Khan and party leaders, ANP Provincial General Secretary Sardar Hussain Babak, while addressing a press conference, called the ECP an “incompetent and weak” organization. He said that the ECP played the role of a silent spectator during the whole election process.

He lashed out at the ECP for failing to discharge its constitutional duty and responsibilities. “The election process was just a formality as it was already rigged. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led provincial government had started developmental projects in the constituency in violation of the ECP rules and code of conduct while the poll body failed to enforce its regulations,” he said.

The ANP leader also came hard on the PTI after losing the by-election as the ANP candidate Khushdal, who also remained former deputy speaker of the provincial assembly, secured the second position by getting 24,883 votes. The ANP leader alleged the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister engineered the by-polls and broke all previous records of rigging.

Babak alleged that the PTI-led government started pre-poll rigging since the very day first when the ECP announced to hold the by-election in the constituency.  “When the election commission announced the schedule of the election, the provincial, as well as the district government, expedited developmental work including solarization of mosques in the NA-4 constituency to gain local support,” he said.

The ANP leader alleged that the KP government used the state machinery in the electioneering to ensure the win of the party candidate in the by-polls. He said that how it was possible that the PTI candidate secured over 40,000 votes while the total turnout and the votes secured by the other candidates suggest the otherwise.  Turning his guns at PTI chief Imran Khan, he said that “those who speak of principles and transparency are now violators of this maxim”.