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PTI Plans Nationwide Protest against Electoral Rigging on March 2

Party leaders claim other political parties will join its call and stage demonstrations against alleged manipulation during Feb. 8 polls

by Staff Report

File photo of Sher Afzal Marwat

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday announced it will stage a nationwide protest on March 2 (Saturday) against alleged rigging during the general elections 2024, adding that other political parties will join its demonstrations.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad after meeting PTI founder Imran Khan at Adiala Jail, Omar Ayub Khan, who is the party’s candidate for prime minister, reiterated his party’s claims of “large scale” rigging in the polls. “Our seats were stolen with just a stroke of pen. The people gave the mandate to the former PTI chairman. Nation’s mandate and our seats have been attacked,” he claimed, maintain PTI-backed candidates had Form-45s proving their wins on seats they had lost in the official results.

To a question, he said the party would also protest in courts and assemblies. “Ours is the fight of truth,” he said, adding that Khan had designated Amir Dogar and Junaid Khan as the PTI’s nominees for the posts of National Assembly speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.

PTI leader Sher Afzal Marwat confirmed the protest call after his own meeting with Khan, adding he would personally lead a demonstration in Islamabad on Saturday morning. If the nation does not raise its voice against the “mega polls theft,” he claimed, then democracy would never flourish in Pakistan.

Marwat also sought to end speculation over the PTI’s plans for its role in the National Assembly, maintaining all lawmakers would take oath of office on Feb. 29. He also said the PTI would soon forward a letter of Khan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as per the party’s narrative.

Referring to his discussions with Khan, he claimed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had not taken any action against alleged rigging during the polls in Balochistan.

While PTI-backed independent candidates won more seats than any other political party in the National Assembly, they lack the numbers to independently form government and have claimed they were denied more victories through rigging. Their refusal to initiate dialogue with either of the two other major parties—the PMLN and PPP—have led the latter to form a coalition at the center, with Shehbaz Sharif set to be elected the next prime minister and Asif Ali Zardari the next president.

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