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August 18, 2018

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Agitation to be launched if required answers not given: Shahbaz

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on Friday termed the July 25 elections ‘the most controversial in the country’s history' but said democracy and sanctity of vote will be jealously protected.

Speaking in the National Assembly, he pledged to protect the democratic system and respect the sanctity of House despite their serious reservations. “We have come here not to protect a fake government but for protection of the democratic system,” he said. He claimed the nation had rejected the 2018 rigged elections.

He requested Speaker Asad Qaiser to constitute a parliamentary commission to investigate the alleged rigging within 30 days. He called for amending the Election Act 2017 in the light of recommendations made by the parliamentary commission so that the future elections could never be rigged.

Shahbaz said the Election Commission's Result Transmission System (RTS) failed on the polling day, the polling agents were expelled from polling stations and 1.6 million votes were rejected. He said the PML-N leaders and workers were arrested before elections.

“What sort of election was this in which 1.6 million votes were rejected, the RTS system was forced to halt at 11.47pm, the results were not given even after three days, the voting process was slowed down and instead of copies of Form-45 the results were provided to the polling agents on blank papers?”

"We won't attack parliament, we won't disturb the visits of foreign dignitaries to Pakistan, we won't curse parliament, we won't force the Supreme Court judges to change their route," he said. "But we won't settle down before getting answers to our questions."

Shahbaz demanded that the people behind massive ‘rigging’ must be exposed. He warned that if the party did not get the required answers, then they will launch a protest movement. He said deposed prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was being targeted for the nuclear tests.

He said Nawaz Sharif had promised to resign if ‘rigging’ was proved by the judicial commission. "Can you (Imran Khan) promise the same?" Earlier, the PML-N members started their protest in front of the Speaker’s dais at the outset of proceedings.

As soon as the PML-N members led by Shahbaz entered the National Assembly Hall, they faced sloganeering from the PTI supporters sitting in the visitors’ galleries.

Disturbed by the sloganeering, the PML-N members threatened that the prime minister would not be allowed to speak in the House unless the visitors were silenced and those standing in the Hall were ousted.

Later, as soon as the Speaker announced the result, the PML-N members gathered in front of the chair of Leader of the House Imran Khan and continued sloganeering, making it impossible for him to start his speech.

This situation forced the chair to suspend proceedings for 15 minutes.

Shahbaz Sharif, who suffered a crushing defeat in the prime minister’s election, also faced a strong protest from the PTI members forcing him to use a headphone to make his speech.

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