Hundreds of supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) are conducting a peaceful sit-in protest at Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Lalik Chowk since Sunday, against alleged rigging in National Assembly constituency NA-125 in particular, and other instances of rigging throughout the country.
A large number of residents including families and children from the constituency NA-125 and PP-156 participated in the protest. The protestors demanded re-election on several constituencies alleging that their mandate had been stolen.
The protestors demanded the election commission to take serious notice of the issue and vowed to continue the sit-in for an indefinite period of time. They also demanded increased monitoring and security at booths during the re-poll to ensure transparency.
The protestors raised slogans against the election commission and the PML-N after an exchange of fists took place between PTI and PML-N supporters when the former had gathered at Lalik Chowk to register their protest.
The protesters alleged that PML-N candidate Khwaja Saad Rafique won his seat through rigging.
Police also arrived at the venue and conducted a baton charge on the protesters to open blocked routes.
Fauzia Qausri, women wing head of PTI, also arrived at the venue and addressed the gathering. She said PTI did not accept these election results owing to rigging in the said constituency including many others in Punjab and Karachi. She emphasised that the protest will continue unless their demands are met.
Aysha Habib, a protestor, told Pakistan Today, “We want free and fair elections and the election commission has failed in its mission of clean elections. We will protest until our demand of re-election is accepted by the concerned authorities.” Ahmad Kamal, a student of ACCA, who came from Model Town to participate, said the protest is peaceful protest and he had came along with his whole family. “It is our right to cast vote and if there is discrimination than this system cannot be changed and everything will remain the same.”
Imran’s hate speech reflecting in his supporters: Saad Rafique
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and election winner from National Assembly constituency NA-125 Lahore Khawaja Saad Rafique on Monday said Imran Khan’s hate rhetoric was being reflected in his supporters in the aftermath of elections.
“Imran Khan, please grow up and accept the election results,” he said while addressing media personnel in Lahore. He was holding a press conference in response to protests held by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Lahore and urged the PTI chairman to stop acting like sore losers. “Don’t be jealous of us,” Rafique said. “I wonder when this drama of protests will end. It is hindering daily lives of the masses,” he added.
He further said his constituency consisted of slums, middle class areas and also posh areas. “The posh area voted for Khan,” Rafique accepted. But the rest of the constituency which constitutes the middle and lower middle class voted for PML-N, he argued.
“The PTI is holding a social media trial of PML-N,” he lashed out. “Please don’t make Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Tehreek-e-Nainsaf.” He said he would give away his National Assembly seat if it was proven he had rigged or taken part in such an activity. “Why don’t they share on-air all their so called proofs,” he stated.
“I myself saw female workers of PTI who had captured polling stations in DHA,” he said. “I went inside to take a look but slogans were shouted against me,” complained Rafique. “We congratulate PTI for obtaining a single majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) because we are mature politicians,” Rafique said.
“Don’t they want to accept the mandate of the masses? Do they consider them insects?” Rafique asked from PTI protestors. “The election commission and other institutions helped in conducting relatively fairer elections,” he said adding that it encouraged voter turnout. Rafique has been alleged of rigging in NA-125 Lahore by getting into a ladies polling booth, trying to halt the polling process and use force to get votes in his favour. Reports said he was escorted out by army officials later. “The policy statement of our leader is our agenda,” he said, referring to Nawaz Sharif earlier pardoning his rivals on using foul language against his party during campaigns in a post-election maiden speech.