LAHORE/ISLAMABAD/PIND DADAN KHAN: The war for votes between PML-N and PPP in Lahore's NA-133, where a by-election is due on December 5, has gone beyond the constituency to social media, where a viral video appears to show voters being bribed by party members.
Both parties have blamed each other's workers for the alleged move. PML-N's Muhammad Arif registered a complaint with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) stating that the PPP is "buying off votes in the constituency".
Arif alleged that the PPP is taking oath from the "bought" voters and distributing Rs2,000 per person. PML-N's Ali Pervaiz Malik also appeared on video to speak about the matter. He said he condemned the move and hoped that the PPP would take notice of such moves and put a stop to them immediately. "This fake video, in which all the characters are masked, this attempt to launch a campaign against PML-N, has been rejected by the people of Lahore," he said.
He said in the 2018 election, Malik Pervaiz won with 90,000 votes and the "tactics" being employed by the PPP come from a party who did not even secure a tenth of the votes of PML-N.
Meanwhile, PPP Punjab’s Secretary of Information Shahzad Cheema noted that such videos are doing the rounds on social media, saying that "the clips are being made to go viral by both parties". He claimed his party had not issued directives to anyone to give any entity any money. "If this has occurred at any level, the PPP strongly condemns the act," he said. Cheema said that the videos are a "ploy" to ruin the election.
PPP Central Punjab's General Secretary Syed Hasan Murtaza issued a video statement, accusing the PML-N of according respect to the "note" (currency) instead of the "vote". "PML-N cannot help but engage in Chhanga Manga politics," he was quoted as saying by PPP Punjab.
According to the statement, Murtaza said that PPP is competing against PML-N "on the basis of ideology rather than money", and that the party "does not believe in buying and selling of votes". "It is only the PPP that respects the voter and the vote," Murtaza was further quoted as saying. He said that it is the tradition of PML-N to buy votes and PPP never indulges in such tactics.
Meanwhile, PTI Senator Ejaz Chaudhary also shared a video on Twitter, with the caption stating: "The true face of the PMLN has been exposed."
According to Chaudhary, in the video, women voters are being paid for their votes and an oath is being obtained from them. "This is why they are against EVMs (electronic voting machines)," he wrote.
Meanwhile, The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has taken notice of the alleged buying and selling of votes in NA-133 by-election, to be held on December 5, and ordered action. The Returning Officer of the ECP has issued an order to take action on the alleged video of vote buying and swearing on the Holy Quran and submit a forensic report.
According to the spokesperson of ECP here, Pemra chairman and Nadra chairman have been called to conduct a forensic inquiry and submit a factual report and identify the people seen in the video.
The inspector general of police (IGP) has also been urged for forensic analyses of the related footages to ascertain their authenticity, identify people, whose faces are visible in the footages and involved in alleged corrupt practices.
The ECP has also directed strict action by identifying the election office seen in the video and verifying those involved in vote buying. According to the ECP spokesperson, the Returning Officer directed to complete the investigation by November 30 and submit a report.
A statement issued by the spokesperson of the ECP said that no violation of law will be allowed in the election and strict action will be taken against those involved. Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Sunday said that PML-N's aim was to pressurise national institutions including judiciary by releasing fake videos.
Addressing a public meeting in Pind Dadan Khan, he said, fake videos are leaked before the proceedings of corruption cases against PML-N leadership, which later proved to be a fake videos.
He said that a video had gone viral showing those who used the slogan of 'Vote ko Izzat Do' purchasing votes for Rs2,000 each which was a shameful and detestable act. The minister said, PML-N and PPP were worried over the use of electronic voting machine (EVM) in the next general elections because they always came into power through electoral fraud and rigging.
Fawad said he himself had contested a bye election from NA- 67 in 2016 in which the PML-N used undemocratic tactics in the same manner, tried to buy votes by giving money to people. He hoped that the Election Commission of Pakistan would take notice on the viral video of PML-N and take appropriate action. He said, PMLN had won 1990 general election through massive rigging and the Supreme Court had given a verdict against them.
He advised Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar to start film making business, as politics was not their cup of tea. He said that Army soldiers defend country's borders and they were always ready to sacrifice their lives in line of duty.
The minister said properties of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were disclosed in Panama Papers leaks. He said that Maryam Nawaz had claimed that she had no property even in Pakistan but she not only had properties in Pakistan but in London also. He said that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz had no proof of purchase of those properties.
The minister said that Pakistan had no leader of the caliber of Imran Khan who had vote bank from Karachi to Torkham and from Gwadar to Khunjrab. He said that Imran Khan was the only leader who could transform Pakistan into a prosperous country.
He said that PPP was no more party of Benazir Bhutto, it was now party of Zardari, shrunk to interior Sindh and PML-N have also lost vast support. He said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will not only complete its five years term but it would win the next elections as well as there was no rival of Imran Khan in the political arena.
He assured the gathering that under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the country will move on the path of development and prosperity. He said, during past three years Pind Dadan Khan has been changed because of PTI government's many projects.
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