ISLAMABAD - The government on Wednesday invited the protesting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) to have a debate in the parliament over the Post-Election Review Report 2013. The Election Commission recently released this report on its website but disowned it later, calling it a compilation of the observers’ work.

Information Minister Senator Parvez Rashid extended the offer of debate at a press conference. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Minister of State for IT Anusha Rehman also accompanied him to release a ‘factsheet’ over PTI’s allegations of rigging in the general elections.

“The (ECP) report did not substantiate accusations of Imran Khan, particularly about printing of ballot papers, 35 punctures and delaying the results to rig elections. Instead, neutral election observers from around the globe appreciated fairness of the elections,” Rashid said. He added the report had highlighted some irregularities but the responsibility lies with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the caretaker government.

Rashid referred to ‘false’ claims of Imran Khan and reports of different observers regarding general elections uploaded on the website of the Election Commission, and challenged the PTI leader to come to the parliament to debate its contents.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said, “Even if we give 20 (NA seats) as gift, the PTI would not be in a position to get simple majority to form government.” Dar also referred to PTI’s internal post-elections report compiled by the Tasneem Noorani Review Commission, and said reasons for PTI defeat were internal party problems, corruption in award of party tickets, ignoring rural areas of the country and arrogant attitude of Imran Khan.

Dar said it had happened for the first time that 37 million bogus or duplicate votes were deleted, photographs of voters were published on voters list, neutral caretaker set-up was put in place and the Election Commission was constituted in a transparent manner. He pointed out that the PML-N had no nominee in the caretaker set-up while Imran Khan concurred with the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner, composition of the Commission and appointment of the caretaker prime minister.

The PML-N won 148 seats of the National Assembly as against the required 136 for simple majority on general seats while PTI got just 34 including those of minorities and women reserved seats, the minister said. He wondered how a party with just 34 seats can lay claim to formation of a government.

Ishaq Dar said if the PTI had any complaints against elections then it should have filed petitions with the election tribunals. Giving details, he said that the PTI filed 58 petitions including 30 against National Assembly constituencies out of which only 15 were from Punjab, and PML-N and PTI candidates were in direct contest in just two of these constituencies. He said the PML-N was more than willing to go for comprehensive electoral reforms and other measures to ensure greater transparency of future elections and he revelled they had offered Shah Mahmood Qureshi of the PTI to take over the chairmanship of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms.

The finance minister said that Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) observed the 2013 general elections with a work force of 41,000 staff. He said the results of 246 constituencies compiled by FAFEN matched with that of the ECP. He said the sit-ins have caused a huge financial loss to the country. He said due to the postponement of the visit of the Chinese president, MoUs worth 32 billion dollars have also been put off.

Ishaq Dar said that the state can sweep protesters by the use of force, but the government and the prime minister decided to save each and every child and woman who are being used as human shield. He said that five and a half out of six demands of PTI have been accepted by the PML-N, but there are differences over Terms of Reference of the proposed Judicial Commission to investigate into the allegations in the elections.

Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman said that a number of international observers have declared the 2013 general elections most credible in the history of the country. She said that all the polls and surveys conducted in 2012, in their assessment reports published in 2013, have described the PTI as third major party in the country, PPP second while PML-N was number one party with respect to its popularity.

‘Model Town incident

a conspiracy’

Agencies add: The government will refrain from using force against people sitting outside Parliament and will follow its policy of restrain because Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) are using women and children as human shield and wish to get bodies and bloodshed out of their protests.

This was stated by Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rasheed in an interview with foreign media on Wednesday.

When asked about possibility of any conspiracy against the PML-N government with reference to Model Town Lahore incident, he said there were certain indicators leading to such theories.

He was of the view that people of the country have rejected all the attempts to destabilise democracy and have condemned those factors within the media and politics who wish to spread anarchy in the country.

The minister reemphasized his viewpoint that people who attacked Pakistan Television Headquarters and blocked transmission of state-run television were technical people and by designed attacked and entered PTV transmission wing.

He said that attackers were instigated by the speeches of Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan who directed them to attack government buildings.

To a query, the minister said that it was a planned attempt of those maligning Pakistan all over the world by sitting outside the parliament and camping there to give a message to the world that Pakistan is in a chaotic situation.

He said that after getting instruction from Tahirul Qadri, they spread all over the Red Zone. Some of them went to Prime Minister House while some of them attacked Pakistan Secretariat. One of these groups attacked PTV Headquarters from where state-run television broadcast its live transmission.

He said that he held a meeting with PTV engineers who confirmed that some of attackers had technical know-how and information about live transmission point and they were using technical terminologies while talking to each other.

They reached On-Air transmission point and made the transmission Off-Air. When PTV screen went black, Tahirul Qadri congratulated them and made a sign of victory by while standing at his container and the same time Imran Khan came on the roof of his container and was smiling and making victory sign.

To another query the minister said that Tahirul Qadri has dual nationality so whenever he comes to Pakistan, he is a Pakistani and he must respect Pakistani laws, constitution and the Parliament. His unlawful acts should be dealt with under the Pakistani laws. Therefore, the government of Pakistan did not complain to the Canadian High Commission for his unlawful conduct.

To a question about the London Plan, Pervaiz Rashid said that the government got information about London Plan through the statements of Tahirul Qadri and the statements of President of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) Javed Hashmi who exposed secret meeting of Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan held in London.

Javed Hashmi has levelled serious charges against Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri but both have failed to answer, he added.

To a query the information minister said that Altaf Hussian for a long time has been passing contradictory statements. At times he talks about strengthening democracy in Pakistan and at times he suggests formulas that are unconstitutional and undemocratic, the minister added.