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PTI calls for nationwide protests today against ‘election rigging’

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Naveed Ahmad Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Friday called for nationwide demonstrations tomorrow (Saturday) to protest what it calls “brazen rigging” of February 8 general election.

Speaking to journalists after meeting Jamat-e-Islami (JI) leadership in Islamabad, PTI leader Asad Qaiser invited different political parties that believed that there was “rigging” in the elections to join the protest.

 “The meeting was held under one-point agenda; the nation’s mandate was stolen in the elections 2024,” he said, adding that it was agreed to unite the voice against the “brazen rigging”.

Qaiser further said that the PTI was in contacts with other political parties that believed “elections were rigged”. “Now decisions will not be made in closed rooms; the voice of people of Pakistan will be heard,” he added.

He regretted that the country was heading towards further political instability after general elections. “We have given call for nationwide protests tomorrow,” he said, urging the people to participate in them.

The PTI leader claimed that his party secured victory over 170 National Assembly seats, but “our mandate was stolen”. “We will continue the struggle to stabilise democracy and give basic rights to the people,” he added.

 For his part, JI Central Naib Ameer Liaqat Baloch said that his party’s contact and talks with the PTI will continue in the future. “I think we will welcome whichever party protests against this rigged election,” he said.

 It is pertinent to mention here that the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) had declined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) offer to form a coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

 The party said that it welcomes PTI-backed candidates who emerged victorious in the polls and offers them constitutional and parliamentary security and respect for the public’s mandate at this difficult time for the party.

 “The PTI welcomed this but in the last stage conveyed the message that they only wanted a coalition for the government in KP,” the JI leader said.

 “JI has decided that coalition with PTI at the national level would be in the national interest, but if the PTI has changed its position, then they can settle their affairs with whoever they want in KP,” Baloch added.

 Uncertainty looms over Pakistan’s political future as none of the major political parties – PML-N, PPP or the PTI-backed independent candidates – secured a simple majority in the National Assembly in the February 8 general elections.

 Political stakeholders were making efforts to forge alliances and secure 169 seats in the 336-member lower house of parliament.

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