Govt concedes to Opp’s demand for rigging probe


—Shehbaz says will not let parliament function until commission is formed to investigate poll rigging

—Info minister says govt ready to form commission, Opp yet to submit TORs for commission

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Hours after Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif warned of disrupting parliamentary proceedings due to no progress in the formation of a commission to investigate election rigging allegations, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said that the government is ready to constitute a commission “as per the demand of the opposition”.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Shehbaz Sharif said that Prime Minister Imran Khan did not come into power because of votes but through rigging.

“PM Imran was not elected but came into power through rigging,” he said, adding that PM Khan had assured the opposition parties that a parliamentary commission would be formed to investigate allegations of rigging but that has not yet happened.

“Three weeks have passed and a parliamentary commission has still not been formed,” he said, adding that “we will not let the parliament function until a commission is formed.”

“We will ensure that a commission is made at any cost,” he added and urged the prime minister to “fulfil his promises”.

Moreover, Shehbaz criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for increasing gas, electricity and fertiliser prices within 20 days of taking office.

“We spent Rs122 billion for the construction of Bhasha Dam,” said Shehbaz in reference to the premier’s call for funding dam construction. However, “You do not need to collect funds for Diamer-Bhasha Dam but should attract investors.”

“There should be no delay in power production through Bhasha Dam.”

Shehbaz also criticised the federal government’s plan to scrap the laptop scheme he had introduced.

Moreover, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) decided to boycott the oath-taking ceremony of the newly elected President Dr Arif Alvi.

Sources said that PML-N would boycott the function as a protest, adding that opposition leaders in the Senate and National Assembly, Raja Zafarul Haq and Shehbaz Sharif respectively would not attend the ceremony.


Responding to Shehbaz’s presser, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said that the government is ready to form a commission to probe rigging allegations, adding that the opposition had so far failed to elaborate the nature of their rigging allegations.

“The opposition has not yet submitted Terms of References (TORs) to probe the alleged rigging charges,” he said.

He regretted that the opposition was using the issue of election rigging as a political stunt that too without producing any concrete evidence in this regard. The opposition should better present concrete proposals to probe the alleged rigging.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Khan Swati has done a commendable job regarding inefficiency of Result Transmission System (RTS), he said.

Regarding the increase in gas, fertiliser and electricity prices, the minister said that the government has not increased the prices. He added, “The PML-N government had destroyed the departments of gas, electricity and fertiliser.”

Fawad further said that the government was resolving the issue of circular debts.

Strongly denying the allegations of revenge levelled by Shehbaz Sharif, he said that Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were convicted and sent to Adiala jail during the government of his own party and accusations of the opposition leader were surprising and astonishing.

The minister said, “Nawaz and Maryam were facing corruption allegations and could not prove the source of their income and assets.”

He said nobody has ever made such whooping money in such a short period of time, adding that the PTI government was taking measures to steer the country out of the crisis

The info minister highlighted that Prime Minister Imran Khan was a man of commitment as everybody believes that he will spend the donated amount honestly and at the right place.

He said the government had assumed that the opposition would announce donations in dam fund but they resorted to criticising the donation appeal.

“The opposition should have donated at least $1,000 each in dam funds. Their donated amount would be spent on construction of dams,” the minister concluded.


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