Challenging the decision of the ECP proves the govt ‘stole’ Daska by-poll: Maryam

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Friday said that by challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order of re-polling in NA-75 Sialkot-IV constituency, the federal government has proven that it had stolen the public mandate in the recently held by-election there.

The statement comes a day after the PTI-led government announced challenging the ECP’s decision in Supreme Court following a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The ECP on Thursday declared the by-poll held on February 19 as void and ordered a fresh election in the entire constituency on March 18 — a move which PML-N welcomed.

The commission had said the election in the constituency had not been conducted in a transparent manner. “Incidents of murders, firing and injuries, bad law and order situation while other circumstances led to make the process of result doubtful,” a short order issued by ECP said.

“Challenging the decision of ECP proves that you (the government) have committed the theft [of people’s vote], and saving the officers involved in vote theft confirms that it was committed at your behest,” Maryam Nawaz wrote on her official Twitter handle.

She said that when Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed revealed PTI’s alleged election fraud in the intra-party polls, he was expelled from the party. “And now you are appealing [in Supreme Court] when ECP caught your vote theft,” She added.

“When people are with you (PTI) then why are you running away? Are you anxious to protect the officials involved in rigging because they will take your name in court? Your game is over,” Maryam further said.

Following ECP’s decision yesterday, PML-N had welcomed the development. However, the PTI said Ali Asjad Malhi — the ruling party’s candidate — will “exercise his legal right” and file the appeal in the Supreme Court.

In a tweet, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister on Information, said that the party has certain reservations about the Election Commission’s decision regarding the Daska by-polls.

“We will approach the Supreme Court and appeal the decision. The people of Daska decided in PTI’s favour. It is incomprehensible that a victorious candidate be prevented from representing his constituency,” Awan had said.

‘Clear proof of rigging in 2018 polls’

PML-N supreme leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif also came down hard on those behind stealing the Daska by-election in a video message.

“The Election Commission bravely and courageously punished the ballot box thieves in the by-elections. We demand that the nation see these punishments being carried out as soon as possible and find out who conspired, when and where?” he could be heard saying in the video clip shared on his official Twitter handle.

“The Daska by-election unveils many secrets. The way it has been stolen here is a clear proof of the rigging in the 2018 elections. We will not rest before taking all such Constitution breakers who commit theft of public mandate to their logical conclusion,” he added.

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