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Pakistan Elections: Committee Formed To Investigate Rigging Allegations

Pakistan Elections: Committee Formed To Investigate Rigging Allegations

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has established a high-level committee to investigate allegations made by former Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha regarding widespread rigging in the February 8 general elections against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, led by imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Chattha claimed that candidates initially losing the elections were manipulated to win in Rawalpindi. His accusations coincided with PTI launching nationwide protests against alleged rigging and vote theft in the polls.

He also implicated the Chief Election Commissioner and the Chief Justice in the alleged wrongdoing, resigning from his post and accepting responsibility for the electoral manipulation.

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In response, the ECP swiftly dismissed these allegations, convening an emergency meeting to address the issue and forming a high-level probe committee. Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja participated in the meeting via video link.

The committee will gather statements from relevant district returning officers and returning officers and submit its findings to the ECP within three days. Based on the report, the ECP will decide whether Chattha will face contempt charges.

The newly appointed Rawalpindi Commissioner, Saif Anwar Jappa, refuted Chattha’s allegations, clarifying that the commissioner’s role during the elections was merely for coordination.

The District Returning Officer for Rawalpindi assured the fairness and transparency of the elections, emphasizing that they were conducted without any external pressure.

Meanwhile, Pakistan experienced disruptions in the social media platform X’s service due to escalating unrest and protests over the election fraud allegations, as reported by the Internet tracking organization NetBlocks.

Independent candidates, backed mainly by PTI, secured 93 seats out of the 265 contested in the National Assembly elections. PTI’s main rivals, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), formed a post-poll alliance after securing 75 and 54 seats, respectively. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) also pledged support with their 17 seats.

PML-N leader Marriyum Aurangzeb criticized Chattha’s approach, suggesting he should have presented evidence to the ECP rather than making allegations during a press conference. She questioned the timing of his claims and his recent visa acquisition.

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