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Pakistani poll official accepts 'responsibility for wrongdoing’ in Feb 8 general elections, resigns

Independent candidates, most of whom were backed by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, won 93 out of the 265 National Assembly seats that went to polls on February 8. Pakistani poll official resigned on Saturday and claimed "responsibility for all wrongdoing" in the general elections.

Ashesh Mallick Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 Islamabad Updated on: February 17, 2024 17:07 IST
Pakistan, Pakistan general elections, Pakistan updates, world news
Image Source : AP Supporters of imprisoned Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party

A senior Pakistani bureaucrat on Saturday (February 17) resigned from his office after “accepting responsibility” for the manipulation of February 8 general elections and alleged that the chief election commissioner and the chief justice were also involved in the poll rigging. He took the “responsibility for all this wrongdoing”. Former Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha's remarks came amidst jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party began nationwide protests against alleged rigging and stealing of its mandate in the February 8 elections.

What did Chattha allege?

Speaking to the reporters at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Chattha said that the candidates who were losing the elections “were made to win”.

"I am taking the responsibility for all this wrongdoing and telling you that the chief election commissioner and the chief justice are also completely involved in this," he was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper. Chattha said that “stabbing the country in its back does not let” him sleep.

"I should be punished for the injustice I have done and others who were involved in this injustice should also be punished," he said while demanding punishment for them.

He said that he was under “pressure” to the extent that he contemplated suicide, but then thought it appropriate to put the matter forth to before the public.

"It is my request to the entire bureaucracy to not do anything wrong for all these politicians," he said.

ECP rejects Chattha’s allegations

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has strongly rejected the allegations of Chattha regarding the chief election commissioner.

In a press statement, it said, "The Election Commission of Pakistan strongly rejects the allegations levelled by the Commissioner Rawalpindi on the chief election commissioner or the election commission and no official of the election commission never issued any instructions regarding changing the election results to the Commissioner Rawalpindi.”

"Neither is the commissioner of any division ever appointed as a DRO, RO or presiding officer, nor do they ever play a direct role in the conduct of elections." However, it said that the matter would be investigated.

Punjab Minister rejects claims

Punjab caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir also rejected the claims of manipulation of poll results made by Chattha.

Speaking to Geo News, he said that Liaquat Ali Chattha had "not shown any proof" of the alleged tampering of poll results.

Noting that the commissioner was retiring on March 13, Mir said, "I imagine he's trying to kick start his political career after he retires." Besides Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), and others have also complained of rigging during the elections.

Pakistan general elections

Independent candidates, most of whom were backed by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, won 93 out of the 265 National Assembly seats that went to polls on February 8.

However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's two main rivals appear on course to form a coalition government after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) formed a post-poll alliance on Tuesday.

The PML-N won 75 seats while the PPP came third with 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has also agreed to support them with their 17 seats. To form a government, a party must win 133 seats out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly.

(With PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | Pakistan: Imran Khan's PTI to sit in opposition in Centre and Punjab, claims 'biggest voter fraud'

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