WEB DESK: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Friday said that issues faced by the country cannot be resolved till free and fair elections are conducted in the country.
“The only time transparent elections were held in the country was in 1970; elections held in 2013 witnessed a record level of rigging,” claimed Imran Khan while addressing a press conference at the PTI Secretariat here yesterday.
Imran said that people blame him for continuously complaining about rigging in elections rather than moving forward, “but that remains the root cause for all the problems faced by the country,” he insisted. “As the party leader, I lost by a margin of 8,500 votes, while my candidate Aleem Khan lost by 2,400 votes. Is Aleem Khan more popular than I am? No I am more popular than him,” stated Khan while referring to the recently held by-polls in NA-122.
The PTI chief went on to say that “it is not a matter of who is more popular, but a case of how effective the PTI was in controlling rigging in the recently held by-polls”. Imran also stated that the people are not able to punish the incumbent government through their votes as rigging prevents them to do so. “During the by-polls we were successful in controlling the level of rigging that was witnessed earlier in 2013, hence PML-N used a different manner to rig the polls on technical grounds with Nadra’s assistance,” claimed the PTI chief.
Imran also alleged that PML-N held a survey in NA-122 prior to the by-polls, through which they deduced the number of voters for both PTI and PML-N. He claimed that those voters who would have voted for PTI were transferred out of the constituency while PML-N voters from outside the constituency were transferred into NA-122. “After the survey was held, PML-N with Nadra’s assistance transferred our voters to another constituency and transferred PML-N supporters into the constituency,” said Khan.
Imran added that if his political party had knowledge of the tactics to be used by PML-N in the latest round of by-polls, they would have effectively countered it, as PTI has learnt important lessons from the massive rigging of 2013 general elections. “The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) only gave us five days to verify the voters’ lists and the associated Form A, which was simply not enough time to validate such a large number of voters,” alleged Imran further.
Imran Khan on the occasion also appreciated Pakistan Army’s role in ensuring that no rigging could be conducted inside polling stations due to their presence. During the course of the press conference, Imran repeated that only Nadra could have assisted PML-N in achieving victory in NA-122, as Nadra was the only institution that could have transferred PTI votes out of the constituency.
Imran Khan also tendered an apology over his behaviour to the journalist, who infuriated him by asking a question about split with Reham Khan. Imran Khan said, “I greatly respect journalists, however, I can’t listen any word against Reham Khan.” All Pakistan Unions of Press Clubs and other journalist bodies had demanded that Imran Khan should tender an apology for insulting a journalist failing which journalists will boycott PTI and stage protests.