Rawalpindi commissioner takes U-turn on polls rigging claim

In a statement to ECP, Chattha says he issued statement against PTI promise to give lucrative position in future; seeks public apology

ISLAMABAD  -  Former Rawalpindi commissioner, Liaquat Ali Chattha, who had resigned from his post last week while mak­ing serious allegations of election rigging, has issued a public apology and expressed regret for his statements.

Chattha, in a recorded statement before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) com­mittee on Thursday, acknowledged that he made these allegations at the behest of a po­litical party, without ex­plicitly naming Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

“I take full responsi­bility for my actions and surrender myself before the authorities for any kind of legal action,” Chatha said in a state­ment to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

According to sources, Chattha appeared be­fore the committee and recorded his statement in response to a notice Rawalpindi Division. “We con­verted the losers into winners with 50,000 votes margin,” he stated. In response to his alle­gations, the PTI, Jamaat-e-Is­lami (JI), and other political parties — most of whom had already rejected the election results — demanded an inves­tigation into the matter.

In the same presser, Chattha had also accused Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa of fa­cilitating the rigging. Respond­ing to his allegations, CJP Isa demanded the former commis­sioner to show evidence to back his allegations against him.

However, retracting his al­legations, Chattha revealed that all of this was done in co­ordination with the Imran Khan-founded PTI, who had also given him lucrative posi­tions for him in future.

In his statement, Chattha, who has been a civil servant for 32 years, said that after the 2018 elections, when the PTI formed government in Pun­jab, he remained posted to se­nior provincial posts, including provincial secretary to the Gov­ernment of Punjab. “The posi­tion of Secretary is among the top posts in the provincial gov­ernment. While posted as Pro­vincial Secretary, I got opportu­nities to develop relationships with senior and prominent po­litical figures of PTI.”

Chattha said during the PTI’s stint in power, he had devel­oped a cordial personal friend­ship with one of the prominent PTI leaders. He said that after the incident of May 9, 2023, as with other leadership of PTI, the aforementioned promi­nent leader also absconded from courts, was declared as a proclaimed offender (PO), and has been hiding.

“Throughout this time, I had direct contact with him and I kept on discreetly helping him on various issues. Consequent­ly, my relationship with said prominent PTI leader evolved into a very close friendship based on a high-level of trust. The statement mentioned that Chattha, after the February 8 elections, had secretly and dis­creetly travelled to Lahore to meet the PTI leader on Feb 11.

“It was in this meeting, that he made an offer to me that if I play a role for supporting the PTI’s ongoing narrative of rigging in elections and maligning state institutions, he would ensure a lucrative position for me in fu­ture.” Chatha said that the PTI leader told him that the entire planning had been formulated after consultation and approv­al of the senior leadership of the PTI. “This proposal was made by the said individual in con­sideration of the fact that I was about to retire from service. He was also aware of the fact that I was under pressure due to this forthcoming retirement. After having remained a part of the services for 32 years, it is natu­rally hard for any civil servant to let go of all perks, privileges, and authorities.” Chatha told the ECP that he had a detailed discussion on the proposed press confer­ence and he was informed that the general direction which was needed to be adopted.

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