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June 29, 2014

Imran himself sought polls under judiciary: minister

June 29, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Saturday revealed that he had convinced his party leader Nawaz Sharif to deliver a victory speech at about 11:30 pm on May 11 and was ready to be hanged if it was a crime, adding that had his party fixed ‘35 punctures’, it would have ruptured Imran Khan’s tube in Rawalpindi, from where Hanif Abbasi had been winning all along.
At what was his first ever news conference here at the Press Information Department, and that too on a Saturday, Rashid answered the four questions asked by Imran during his rally in Bahawalpur on Friday, and asked the PTI chief to now donate the Rs2 billion to the IDPs that he wanted to spend on bringing one million people to Islamabad. The minister said he now had some questions for Imran that he will ask after some days.
The minister’s briefing was tinged with a glossary of cricket terms. At one point, he accused Imran of bowling with a tampered ball and then quipped, unlike Imran his party would accept the umpire’s decisions even if they went against them and had already done so. PIO Rao Tehsin Ali Khan flanked the minister.
Rashid had his calculations about the proposed long march of Imran Khan on Islamabad with one million people and said that the PTI chief would have to spend at least Rs2,000 per head which would bring the total expenditure to Rs2 billion.
He said it was this colossal amount that had prompted him to answer the questions Imran had asked during his Friday public meeting so that the funds could be diverted for the IDPs’ well-being.
The minister calculated Rs500 million for each question and while answering all one by one, he said he had saved Rs2 billion from being spent on bringing one million persons to Islamabad, as was claimed by Imran. Now the PTI chief should give this amount for the IDPs, who are the guests of Pakistan and looking after them was not the responsibility of any single party.

Imran’s first question, about who had made Nawaz to deliver his victory speech, the minister said that it was he who had urged his party leader to greet the cheering workers outside, as by that time the media had reported the results of more than 120 NA constituencies, of which the PML-N had pocketed 120 seats or was leading with huge margins. He noted the results from polling stations had begun pouring in within one to two hours after the polling stopped.
“Imran, who himself is a judge, jury and executioner, should file an FIR against me at the Qissakhawani Bazar police station if asking my leader to deliver a victory speech is a crime. I am ready to be hanged without fighting the case”, Rashid said with a smile on his face.
About Imran’s question/allegation that the returning officers and the judiciary had influenced the election results, Rashid read out from a newspaper a portion of the statement of Imran Khan on October 20, 2012, where he had called for holding the polls under the judiciary, being the only institution enjoying the trust of the masses. Today he himself was hurling allegations at the ROs and the judiciary.
The appointment of judicial officers as ROs, he pointed out, was Imran’s demand and not of the PML-N, PPP, ANP, JUI-Fazl or Jamaat-e-Islami.
With regards to Imran’s question as to what was the role of the caretakers in the elections, the minister said his party (PML-N)) had proposed three names for the slot of caretaker PM and they were justices (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid, Shakirullah Jan and Rasool Bakhsh Palijo and all three were rejected. Likewise, Najam Sethi as caretaker chief minister of Punjab was not their choice but was named by the PPP. However, they accepted him and Imran had a meeting with him afterwards.
Sethi enjoyed complete liberty and changed everyone from the chief secretary to the peon, sparing one secretary health, who is the brother of PTI’s candidate Dr Yasmeen Rashid, who contested the election against Nawaz Sharif. He said they did not speak up even when those close to the Chaudhrys of Gujrat were brought forward, who had caused a split in the PML-N, persecuted party leaders and had a role in the exile of the party’s top leadership. Hence, he said the PML-N had nothing to do with the caretaker set-up but Imran had got transferred and posted persons on key posts in Punjab.
As regards the PTI chairman’s allegation/ question that the results of 35 NA constituencies were changed, that he called ‘punctures’, the minister said he had a list of over 77 NA constituencies, where the PTI candidates had got less than 8 percent of votes and the situation was similar on the assemblies’ seats, where Imran did not field candidates against the first 100 seats of the Punjab assembly.
Rashid also said that the lead of winning candidates was not less than 40,000 votes. Then how could he allege that the results had been changed? “If we were to influence results, we would have ruptured Imran’s tube in Rawalpindi, from where Hanif Abbasi had been winning all along,” he noted.
Replying to questions, he asked Imran to desist from the politics of agitation and let the government pursue its agenda of development and progress and tackle the big challenges of terrorism, energy crisis and economy, as already people had given their verdict through the ballot, and civilised nations always accepted poll results and then the government and the opposition joined hands on a national agenda.
The minister spoke highly of Najam Sehti for successfully pursuing his cricket diplomacy to the advantage of Pakistan cricket and also made mention of the national team’s visit to Bangladesh in difficult times and its gaining the status of the Big Four at the ICC.
About the demand for thumb verification in four NA constituencies, the minister said that these matters were already in the courts and the election tribunals. He noted that in a case, PTI’s candidate Hamid Khan had sought over 90 adjournments through his lawyer and in another case, Jehangir Tareen had asked the tribunal to record his statement via videolink, as he was staying in London.
Asked about Shahid Afridi’s proposal of playing a charity match for IDPs in which one team should be led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the other by Imran Khan, the minister said he would be happy to see the PTI chief playing and was already amused by his stint in politics and keenly awaited his return to the parliament for debates on key issues.
He asked Imran to think about the plight of the IDPs and said he knew the PTI chief had sympathy for those with whom he had been pleading dialogue, who had killed innocent people and destroyed the homes of IDPs.

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