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May 25, 2013

Imran asks CJ to order probe into poll rigging by ROs

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A
AP
May 25, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday urged Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to hold a probe into, what he called, unprecedented rigging, and punish the erring Returning Officers (ROs) for their ‘terrible role’ in the process.
In his brief recorded speech telecast from Lahore via video-link, Imran claimed that people were now describing the May 11 general election as the ROs’ elections due to their terrible role during the electoral process.
The PTI chief minced no words in warning that if the chief justice failed to provide justice, people who had been agitating peacefully, could become violent. Imran said it was a strange fact that all the parties, even those who won, had been raising their voice against rigging in the elections.
He castigated the Returning Officers, particularly in the Punjab, and asked who would contest elections if they were not to be penalised for their actions. you hold investigation as to what kind of game ROs played,” he claimed.
Imran cautioned that if the chief justice, towards, whom the entire nation was looking, did not punish the ROs, they would stop taking part in polling in future, as this would hurt their confidence in the system. He also made an appeal to the chief election commissioner (CEC) to also hold a through probe into four constituencies by verification of thumb impression of voters, the PTI was referring to.
Imran said masses might stop having faith in the process if the chief justice did not hold inquiry and said that Justice Iftikhar had been doing good work and also taking suo moto notice of wrongdoings.
He said that voters in such huge numbers had perhaps never came out on the polling day in the history of Pakistan and had seen with their own eyes, how the process was rigged. “They voted for victory of someone while at the end, the other was shown winner,” he noted.
Imran noted that the PTI had been saying that there had been massive rigging in

25-30 constituencies but the Election Commission must, as a sample, investigate four of them.A number of candidates, who had lost in the NA and provincial assemblies took part in the sit-in at D-Chowk, near the Parliament House. PTI leaders, including Javed Hashmi and Shah Mehmood Qureshi wer also present on the occasion.
“If riggers and those who facilitated this are not punished, what would be credibility of by-elections and the local government polls,” Imran wondered.He reminded the chief justice how the PTI had came out in sweltering heat in support of the independent judiciary. “Chief Justice Sahib, we took to roads not for you but for the strengthening of the state institutions,” he said.
Imran said that if the CEC did not ensure transparency then who would, and asked would democracy move forward this way. He asked the CEC to do justice for the future of youth and democracy.He pointed out that in India, 400 million voters cast their vote and no one ever heard voices of rigging in elections there.
Imran paid tributes to party supports, who braving hot weather staged the sit-in and described them as pioneers of democracy. It is interesting to note that due to some technical fault, his speech was restarted after Imran had spoken for at least ten minutes. However, party activists listened to him with complete attention.