Friday December 09, 2022

Will go to neither assemblies nor ECP: Imran

Islamabad will see the largest ever gathering in the country’s political history on his call, says Imran

October 07, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan. —Facebook PTI
PTI Chairman Imran Khan. —Facebook PTI 

ISLAMABAD: PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday categorically said neither his party will go back to the National Assembly nor will he attend the Election Commission’s proceedings.

He said this during his interaction with media at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House here. PTI Secretary General Asad Umar, Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry and Senator Shibli Faraz were also present.

About his long march plan, Imran said Islamabad will see the largest ever gathering in the country’s political history on his call. He asserted that while the government’s plan to stop the marchers was known to all, people will see his plan known to only a few as it will unfold.

He hinted at his readiness to participate in the general election under the current Election Commission but accused the chief election commissioner of having no moral ground to stick to the office after his audio leaks.

Imran claimed that the PMLN has admitted the audio leaks were real. He noted that in one audio clip, CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja could be heard taking instructions from PMLN Quaid Nawaz Sharif. He alleged that the CEC undertook the exercise for delimitation of constituencies in consultation with the PMLN.

“His (CEC) collusion stands exposed now and his bias towards PTI is visible from day one,” he alleged. About his expectation with regard to various cases against him pending with the ECP, Imran said he was sure the decision will be against him, as the CEC was just a tool being used.

On the contempt of ECP case against him, Imran contended that the ECP was not a court of law. “How is it possible that the ECP indulges in malpractices, and reacts to criticism with issuance of controversial contempt notices,” he remarked.

He again criticised the electoral body for not hearing foreign funding cases against the PTI, PMLN and PPP together, and claimed while his party managed its funds transparently, both PMLN and PPP had failed to even disclose their sources of funding.

“They in fact run their parties on the money received in kickbacks and commissions,” he alleged. Imran strongly opposed the ECP’s move to bar dual nationals from becoming a member of a political party, saying, “Ten million overseas Pakistanis are an invaluable asset to Pakistan. The proposed move to amend Rule 157 (2) of the Election Rules is meant to punish the expatriates for their love and support to PTI”.

In this connection, Imran rejected what he called the PTI-specific draft amendment and said they should also be stopped from sending remittances to Pakistan, adding that the overseas Pakistanis were as loyal to the country as others.

Under a proposed amendment to the rules, a party head will be bound to provide a certificate that the list of 2000 members provided with registration documents does not include a dual national, resident of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan or any individual involved in any financial irregularity or anti-state activities.

Sounding extremely optimistic, Imran predicted a massive change in the country’s political landscape following the upcoming general elections, and said his party will sweep the polls despite all political engineering, and claimed that Sindh will witness the biggest revolution where the PPP’s victory this time was impossible.

He said the public support to PTI was so huge that manipulation of election results would not be possible. To rig the forthcoming elections, one would need political engineering of the scale that the system would not be able to sustain, he added.

To a question about Toshakhana cases against him, Imran said what he did was strictly within the ambit of law as premier, and alleged former president Asif Ali Zardari got inducted three luxury vehicles including two BMWs and a Toyota Lexus into the largest fleet of bulletproof cars owned by any individual in the country.

He said Nawaz Sharif also took home a luxury Mercedes car from Toshakhana, while this was done in flagrant violation of rules on payment of a negligible amount. Imran demanded open hearing of Toshakhana case against him in the ECP.

Responding to a question, Imran made a startling claim that his party could have won the 2018 general election by a thumping majority had the results been not changed and right candidates fielded by the party.

“This is why we have been advocating the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) which can address majority of irregularities in the electoral exercises. The idea of introducing EVMs had been opposed by PML-N and PPP and the forces which wanted political engineering,” he contended.

To another question, Imran said the process for appointment of chief election commissioner, Chairman NAB and caretaker governments was flawed and needed to be replaced with a merit-based mechanism. Imran expressed the confidence that he will win the by-election in all the nine NA constituencies despite all attempts to steal the polls.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission reacted strongly to the fresh allegations leveled by PTI Chairman Imran Khan and termed them baseless and a pack of lies.

In a statement, the Election Commission spokesperson Haroon Shinwari said, “All the allegations made by the PTI Chairman Imran Khan against the Election Commission and the Chief Election Commissioner are baseless and a bundle of lies. The Commission rejects them outright. It is very easy to teach ethics (to others), but it is difficult to practice it”.

“All proceedings of the Election Commission, including the Toshakhana case, are conducted in the open court. The Commission shall carry out its functions in accordance with the Constitution and the law without taking into account any pressure,” he made it clear.