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June 13, 2021

PTI planning to steal next polls through e-voting: PML-N

June 13, 2021

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Central General Secretary Ahsan Iqbal has alleged that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is planning to steal the next general election through e-voting.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, he said special seats for overseas Pakistanis could be created, but the PTI wanted to steal the next elections through e-voting. He said Imran Khan had lost eight by-polls till date and he knew that “now the funeral for the PTI was about to take place” and that was why he was looking for a backdoor for re-entering the power corridors.

He said the PTI government presented the federal budget on Friday and before that, the government run a massive advertisement campaign, propagating that the country had changed and all problems of the common man had been solved.

“In the presence of inflation and joblessness, the government tall claims are equal to throwing dust in eyes of people,” he said.

The PMLN leader said the party supported the protests of government employees as 10% increase in their salaries was a joke and their salaries should be increased by 20 to 25%.

Ahsan said opposition leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif would hold a press conference in Model Town in which he would expose tall claims of the government.

Ahsan said the incompetent government was even unable to complete the 12-year development plan, started by the PMLN government. He said the nation was suffering due to incompetence of the selected government.

He asked the government to make a promise with people that no mini budget would be introduced and prices of electricity and petroleum would not be increased. He claimed that the government would bring many mini budgets in the upcoming days.

“The PMLN strongly condemns the law made in the name of Kulbhushan Jadhav,” he said adding the government passed two bills by bulldozing the parliamentary rules and regulations to give an NRO [deal] to the Indian spy. Ahsan said that till yesterday, the PTI used to taunt PMLN with Kulbhushan; “but now we’ll see who is the protector of Pakistan,” he added.

Ahsan said the PMLN used to pass laws with consensus in the past and always included the PTI members in the process. But, he added, no effort was made to reach consensus on the proposals of oppositions, which means that the PTI wanted to steal the next elections.

The government carried out delimitation on the basis of voter registration instead of population, he said and added that voter registration was low in the backward areas of the country. “We are excluding them from the electoral process. This will benefit the urban and developed areas. This is what the government has done on the basis of its coalition only to increase the number of seats and decrease the number of seats in Balochistan.

“If no one casts his vote, it does not mean that he should be expelled. The government has authorised NADRA [National Database and Registration Authority] to make electoral lists instead of Election Commission of Pakistan, which was an attack on democracy,” Ahsan said adding the pilot project on e-voting and overseas voting was called off because it lacks privacy.

He alleged that the electronic voting machines can be tampered with and the government was eager to implement the new system. He announced that the PMLN would not allow this to happen.

“Fawad Chaudhry knows nothing about e-voting machines. I am an engineer, I know more about technology. If e-voting is a solution, countries like the United States and the United Kingdom would have adopted it,” he claimed.

“E-voting machines can be exposed to cyber attacks and the government has no plans to counter such attacks,” he said, adding those were sensitive issues and should jointly be discussed with opposition as well as Election Commission, but they did not consult with anyone.

Answering a question, he said the opposition was not against the right to vote for overseas Pakistanis, “but what we say is that those living in France are not aware of the problems of small areas of the country”. Overseas Pakistanis could be elected as representatives or seats could be reserved for them in Parliament, he added.

He said if there was an attempt to steal the next elections, the people would guard their vote. “We will work with all the opposition parties to come up with a common strategy to thwart it,” Ahsan said.

“We had approved the ML-1 project, but it had not been launched in three years. This government has given far less resources to the railways than us,” he said while answering a question.

To another question, he said the PMLN has the largest development and defence budget of all times.

Ahsan said “all our options are constitutional and democratic and we will not take any undemocratic approach.

“Now the PDM parties are launching a public campaign again from July 4, 2021,” he announced adding that the Election Commission had been asked to work with all political parties for fair elections.

He warned that if the government continued to ignore the opposition, a civil war-like situation might erupt in country.

He said the government was in a hurry to pass the election laws. He claimed that Imran Khan himself might dissolve the assemblies and hold fresh elections. “We are fully prepared for the electoral process, which has been assessed from the 8 by-elections,” he concluded.