LAHORE - Though the mainstream opposition parties had alleged that the 2013 general elections had been rigged at a large scale, the possibility of their gathering under one umbrella seems minimal to launch a joint campaign against what they call a foul play.
Major political parties, including PTI, PPP and PML-Q, are unanimous on the point that they had been deprived of many seats of the parliament in the results of rigged polls of 2013.
PTI has announced a campaign against the alleged rigging on May 11 to be launched from D-Chowk, Islamabad.
As things stand, the political parties are divided into three groups. The first group, comprising Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami which are coalition partners in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, has identical views about the rigging and JI is supporting PTI over the issue. The second grouping consists of the ruling PML-N, PPP and JUI-F.
The PPP has been alleging that the last year’s elections had been manipulated, but it is against any plan to overthrow the government by any means. The JUI-F whose ministers have tendered resignations from their offices on account of various complaints says it will support the government in case of any attempt to dislodge it.
The third group of Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri talks of a revolution to change what it calls a corrupt system. It is going to launch a protest campaign on May 11, but it has so far not been assured of support by any party.
PML-Q Punjab President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, talking to this correspondent on Saturday over the issue, said, “We are preparing a white paper or a fact sheet concerning the rigging against my party as we have been deprived of at least 18 seats of the parliament in the rigged polls of 2013.”
When asked about joining the PTI show on May 11, he said, “Imran Khan is going to make a good effort. However, we will launch a separate campaign and inform the masses of our plan on this count very soon. PML-Q will come up with concrete proofs of rigging, which will trigger the people to come on the streets.”
The PML-Q senior leader remarked: “Though the time hasn’t come for snap polls, we and other parties can demand midterm elections if we don’t get speedy decisions concerning the rigging.”
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, when reached, said: “We have extended invitation to all the political parties which are victim of the rigging and I and my other colleagues have personally contacted them. Now it is up to them to decide to join us. So far, Jamaat-e-Islami, Sheikh Rashid’s Awami Muslim League (AML) and some individuals have given their nod to join us on May 11.”
As no PTI leader was ready to comment on the possibilities of their party leadership to demand midterm polls, a veteran leader of the party requesting not to be named said, “We can make this demand if we don’t get justice over the rigging issue soon as we have already waited for one year.”
PPP senior leader Farhat Ullah Babar said, “Our party will not become part of any anti-government campaign.”
Meanwhile, fruitless efforts were made by PAT and PTI leadership some time back to join each other in Punjab and the federal capital, but the proposal was dropped by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leadership during its core committee meeting.
The PTI leaders’ stance was that the two parties had different programmes. “One wants justice regarding the rigging whereas the other has no stake in the existing system as it desires a revolution by overhauling the constitution,” they held.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Punjab President Ijaz Chaudhry who is also a core committee member, when called, said, “The party will hold its independent show but it also welcomes the PAT for staging their rally; we will be happy if they take part in our demonstration against the rigging.”
PTI should focus on KP govt: ANP
Staff Reporter from Karachi adds: Awami National Party Sindh spokesman has said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf should focus on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government instead of staging Long March.
In a statement issued here on Saturday, he alleged that PTI chairman Imran Khan had proved himself a clumsy player by alleging that a media group and anchorpersons.
PTI should focus on the KPK government and resolve the issues of masses instead of staging Long March.
He further said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had opened the pandora box of accusations and protest to divert the attention of masses from the failure of the KPK government.
A year has been lapsed and the PTI leadership has failed to bring an appropriate provincial minister for any department. Continuous changing of provincial ministers has set a new world record. PTI with no democratic thinking has been exposed to the public itself, he added.