ISLAMABAD: Using the word that he usually reserves to describe the alleged US role in his ouster, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Thursday alleged that ‘interference’ (mudakhlat) was under way to change the results of upcoming by-elections in Punjab.
“The level of interference is that two of the PTI candidates have told me that they have received calls from unknown numbers advising them not to accept PTI tickets,” he said while speaking at the seminar ‘Regime Change and its Fallout on Pakistan’, organised by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA).
The former prime minister insisted that only free and fair elections could address the issues being faced by the country.
He said Pakistan came into being because Muslims wanted freedom. “Pakistan was not made to get rid of one slavery and stay under another one. When I saw the cipher [allegedly given to then Pakistani ambassador Asad Majeed Khan by US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu], I read it three times. It was mentioned that it was Imran Khan’s decision to visit Russia. Our diplomat tried to convince that it was a collective decision, but the US representative insisted that it was not,” he said.
Announcing that his party would move the Supreme Court against the high court’s decision, Mr Khan wondered how Hamza Shehbaz could remain the Punjab chief minister when the court had termed ‘flawed’ the electoral process through which he came to power.
He once again insisted that the Election Commission of Pakistan had lost credibility, adding that pre-poll rigging was being carried out in Punjab and the commission remained unmoved in the face of evidence that PTI candidates were receiving phone calls warning them against contesting elections on PTI tickets.
He said the government’s own allies had raised questions over the local bodies’ elections in Sindh, where he claimed “police was used” to manipulate the polls. He also warned that elections in Punjab would be even more chaotic as the situation there was different from Sindh.
The former premier said the current “imposed government” was proving to be disastrous for the country and its institutions, adding that the only way to get the country out of the “prevailing untold crises” was to hold early, free and fair polls.
He said the major problem of poor countries was that the powerful remained unpunished, as they looted billions of dollars every year with complete immunity. He said the gravity of the situation could be judged from the fact that $7,000 billion of poor countries had been lying in offshore companies. He said “big robbers” had been given a clean chit in Rs1,100 billion corruption cases because all facilities were being given to the ruling class.
“Shaukat Tarin (former finance minister) and I also told ‘neutrals’ that there would be political instability if the conspiracy [against PTI government] succeeded because it would have severe implications for the country,” Mr Khan added.
PTI gets NOC to hold public gathering
in Islamabad subject to GHQ’s nod
The capital administration on Thursday issued a no-objection certificate to the PTI to organise a public gathering at Parade Ground subject to permission from the General Headquarters (GHQ) for using the venue.
According to the NOC issued from the office of the deputy commissioner Islamabad, the NOC is subject to permission/NOC by the staff duties directorate at the GHQ, Rawalpindi.
The NOC was issued in response to an application submitted by the party on June 27 seeking permission to hold a public gathering at Parade Ground.
A report from the SSP operations Islamabad was sought wherein the threat with respect to the security of the former prime minster and PTI Chairman Imran Khan and political gatherings in Islamabad was mentioned, it added.
The directions of Supreme Court of Pakistan in a constitutional petition were also perused wherein the SC had directed that a mechanism may be worked out with political parties regarding holding of rallies, it said, adding Islamabad High Court had also observed that political parties were expected to strictly comply with the regulations and restrictions prescribed to maintain public order. The imposition of reasonable restrictions in the context of regulating, exercising the right guaranteed under Article 16 of the Constitution is within the exclusive domain of the executive authorities.
In this regard, a letter was written to the president PTI Central Secretariat, Ali Nawaz Awan, on June 29 for giving an undertaking upon the required terms and conditions, the NOC said. He submitted the undertaking to follow the terms and conditions.
In view of these, the DC allowed the PTI to hold the gathering for one day only (July 2) at Parade Ground. The gathering shall not disturb or disrupt the fundamental rights of citizens of Islamabad and adjoining areas.
The gathering shall not block Islamabad Expressway at any cost owing to any reason whatsoever since this is the main artery of the city and provides access to the airport and north-bound as well as west-bound motorways. The gathering shall end at 12 night (between July 2 and 3).