Former information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Monday announced he and his “group” will “boycott” the Feb. 8 general elections, as he slammed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for failing to perform its duties.
Currently incarcerated, Fawad—who left the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after the May 9 riots—announced his decision in a handwritten letter addressed to the ECP, which has been shared on his official X account. Recalling that the electoral body had failed to conduct timely elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa last year after their respective assemblies were dissolved, he stressed that the purpose of polls was to provide the public the authority to choose its representatives.
“First of all, I was arrested in false cases so that I resign from the elections myself,” he said, adding his nomination papers for the NA-60 and NA-61 constituencies were rejected, as was a subsequent appeal before the election tribunal. Earlier, he said, his brother Faraz was “arrested and threatened” when he went to Jhelum to submit Fawad’s nomination papers, adding he was also warned “you should not be seen again in Jhelum.”
The former minister said that despite these “obstacles,” he, his wife Hiba, and his brother Faisal had filed their nomination papers. However, he continued, both his and Hiba’s nominations were rejected over failing to declare “two plots in a [housing] society in Jhelum.” When he challenged the rejection in the relevant high court, he said, it emerged the housing society did not even exist. “Neither ownership of any land nor any request for a plot or any transaction,” he claimed.
After the court set aside the returning officer’s objections, he said, his candidacy was rejected for failing to declare an Easypaisa account and submitting a “wrong verification page.”
Alleging that “all” his workers and leaders were threatened, he said they were ordered to avoid the electoral process after being arrested. “When they found out that my brother Faisal Chaudhry’s papers have been accepted, they named him as co-accused along with me in a NAB case,” he claimed.
“I am ready to bear all hardships but it would be inappropriate to involve my workers, friends, family and voters in further calamities when the results are already prepared,” he said, describing it as a “waste of time” to demand resignations from ECP officials. The ECP, he maintained, had “failed horribly in fulfilling its responsibilities.”
Any government formed through such elections, he added, “will not only be deprived of a moral but legal mandate as well, and would not at all have the capability to fight the country’s crises and challenges.”