Imran urges British High Commissioner to warn Altaf
LAHORE: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has urged the British High Commissioner Adam Thompson to take notice of comments made by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain, DawnNews reported.
The British High Commissioner had arrived at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital to visit the PTI chief, who is recovering from an injury suffered during his election campaign.
Imran Khan reportedly told Thompson that Altaf Hussain’s statements were against British law and that action should be taken against it.
He also told the British High Commissioner that the UK government should issue a warning to the MQM chief.
The London Metropolitan police has already launched an investigation against MQM chief Altaf Hussain after complaints by hundreds of British and Pakistani citizens.
Day 5 of dharnas: Protesters come up with songs and poems to show anger
The protracted protests against the ‘hijacking’ of elections in Karachi have allowed people to refine the way they express their reservations and put forth demands.
On Tuesday – the fifth consecutive day of protests – over a 1,000 people had come to Sharae Faisal, where Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) had organised a rally. The protesters may have started off with the usual chants, ‘gundagardi nahi chaley gi’ [we will not accept hooliganism] and ‘dhandli nahi chaley gi’ [we won’t take rigging], but it soon became apparent that they had invested their creative juices in coming up with fresher ways to protest.
A makeshift stage had been set up where protesters had a chance to present songs, speeches and poems which they had meticul. One rather amusing song about the Chief Election Commissioner went something like this: ‘Jaago, jaago Fakhru bhai, qaum ne tum pe kiya bharosa, qaum ki kesi shaamat ayi’ [Wake up Fakhru bhai. The nation trusted you and it met a catastrophe].
Another unique feature was a 200-metre-long flag of Pakistan which protesters held up as they shouted slogans against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) mismanagement on May 11, polling day.
While addressing the protesters, JI’s candidate for NA-251 and Indus Pharma CEO, Zahid Saeed, said, “The ECP should realise that the protests will continue until it accepts our demands for fresh elections in all of Karachi’s constituencies.” He added that political parties had been organising protests separately but would form an alliance to push for their demands. “If the ECP asks for evidence, we will supply it. But it should ask its own staff about who took the polling staff hostage and seized ballot boxes.”
The head of the Human Rights Network, Intikhab Alam, was also present at the protest. He said that the organisation had been collecting data on rigging. “Some ballot boxes were not even sealed – the basic criterion for free and fair elections had not even been fulfilled.”
Hasan Amar, a protester, felt that the ECP’s decision to order fresh polls in some polling stations of NA-250 was not enough to counter the damage of “widespread” rigging across the city.
PTI’s keeps protests going
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) also organised another protest outside Millennium Mall on Rashid Minhas Road. The participants shouted slogans against the CEC and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). With PTI’s flags wrapped around their foreheads and placards in their hands, they said that Karachi is part of Pakistan and they will not tolerate claims made by any party that the city is its property.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Rahila Khan, the joint secretary for PTI’s Sindh division, said the party has made a clear cut demand to the ECP – fresh elections in the city under the watchful eye of the army. “We are here to free our city from terrorists, target killers and extortionists. If the re-elections are not conducted, we’re very scared that there might be bloodshed in the city.” She said that their party workers and supporters are against the gun-culture. “Our polling agents and voters were forced out of the polling station by MQM thugs who then filled the boxes with bogus votes,” said Khan.
Farrah Malik, a PTI supporter who came from North Nazimabad, “We want justice. The CEC should tell us why the Rangers, police and army did nothing when hooligans from MQM were openly rigging the elections.”
PTI’s candidate for PS-118, Arsalan Taj Ghumman, said the party is organising protests across the city because rigging took place everywhere. “We want to remove the misperceptions that rigging took place only in NA-250. I myself was attacked and beaten by MQM activists at a polling station in my constituency.” He said that the party is submitting a petition in the apex court and will provide evidence of rigging in the court.
A black day against rigging has been announced and a protest will be organised outide Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2013.
ECP results show PTI second largest in Karachi
KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has emerged as the second largest political force in the city – posing a threat to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which bagged a majority of seats in Karachi.
According to the recent election results, PTI candidates have given a tough time to their opponents in a majority of provincial and National Assembly seats. Even though, not a single PTI candidate has won so far from the city, officials of the election commission admitted that they have clinched the second number in terms of votes cast.
This, in itself, is a significant change from previous elections as the PTI managed to get up to 30,000 votes in Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stronghold Lyari and the MQM’s home constituency Azizabad.
In Azizabad, PTI’s Muhammad Jawed Jeelani secured 20,259 votes against MQM’s Khalid bin Wilayat, who won with 71,318 votes. In Lyari too, PTI candidate Subhab Ali Sahil won 26,348 votes even though the PPP has been sweeping this constituency since it was formed in 1968. PPP’s Shah Jahan Baloch – who was contesting Lyari’s seat from the jail – defeated Sahil with 84,530 votes , the latter’s position was better than Nabeel Gabool and PPP-Shaheed Bhutto leader Ghinwa Bhutto, who hardly managed 537 votes.
Even on election day, Lyari’s Baloch and Sindhi youth was divided between PPP and PTI camps. Most of them wore shirts and caps inscribed with the portrait of PTI chief Imran Khan and were shouting slogans to bring “change”. Apart from Lyari and Azizabad, the election commission results show that PTI bagged a significant number of votes from Sohrab Goth and SITE areas.
MQM’s Ali Raza Abidi, who was contesting from NA-251 Mehmoodabad and PECHS, won with 81,075 votes, but his PTI rival Raja Azhar Khan contested neck-and-neck and managed 39,766 votes. On the same seat, political stalwarts such as PML-N’s Nehal Hashmi and JI’s Zahid Saeed received 12,657 and 26,403 votes respectively. Even in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, the party gave a tough fight to the MQM as Arsalan Taj Ghuman secured 31,802 votes.
PTI Karachi chief Dr Arif Alvi, who was contesting on NA-250, felt that if free and fair elections were held, the whole city would have been swept by their party.
“Soon after the election started two to three hours behind schedule, some people started firing in the area harassing the voters,” he recalled. “Later, our agents were kidnapped and a few of them were harassed.”
Most of the PTI candidates were of the view that they had a strong position in their areas and even the MQM – the city’s undisputed party – was not in a position to defeat them.
“We were a hundred per cent sure to win at least 10 national assembly seats from Karachi, but they rigged the elections,” said Dr Alvi.
Meanwhile, MQM deputy convenor Farooq Sattar, who won from NA-249, said that Karachi is still an MQM stronghold and no other party, even PTI, can change that. “The media has started creating hype and those parties which lost the election have started this blame game,” he said.
“The people of Karachi have rejected them through their votes and they should accept their defeat.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2013.
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