ISLAMABAD: Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday announced that he and his “group” would “completely boycott” the upcoming general elections, terming the electoral process “fake”.
The imprisoned politician made the remarks in a handwritten letter addressed to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), a copy of which is available with Dawn.com. His official account on X also reposted a copy of the letter his brother Faisal shared on the social media platform.
In the letter, Fawad stated that “under these circumstances, my group and I announce a complete boycott of these elections”. It was not immediately clear which group he was referring to.
Fawad was one of many PTI leaders who had left the party following violence in the country on May 9, when former prime minister Imran Khan was arrested from the Islamabad High Court premises.
Although Fawad had said at the time that he was “taking a break from politics”, he was seen at the launch ceremony of the Jahangir Khan Tareen-led Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP) in June. However, He has kept quiet on whether he is officially a part of the IPP — which has been joined by several PTI leaders in the aftermath of May 9. He was arrested from Islamabad on November 4 in a corruption case and has been in custody since.
In his letter, Fawad recalled that the ECP had failed to hold elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab last year after the respective provincial assemblies had been dissolved. “The aim of elections is to provide the public with the authority to ‘choose’,” he stated, before proceeding to detail recent actions taken against him in the run-up to the February 8 polls.
“First of all, I was arrested in false cases so that I resign from [contesting] the elections myself,” he said. He further stated that his nomination papers were rejected, while the subsequent appeal was also rejected by a Rawalpindi election tribunal.
He added that when his brother Faraz went to Jhelum to submit his nomination papers, “he was arrested and threatened” and also told that “you should not be seen back in Jhelum”.
The former PTI leader said that despite facing “obstructions”, he, his wife and brother filed their nomination papers. However, the couple’s candidature was rejected by the returning officers for “not declaring two plots in a [housing] society in Jhelum”.
Fawad added that when he challenged the rejection in the relevant high court, he “found out that no such society existed in Jhelum”. “Neither ownership of any land nor any request for a plot or any transaction,” he said.
The politician then claimed that the court set aside the RO’s objections but his candidature was still rejected for a “wrong verification page” and for “not declaring our Easypaisa account”.
Without specifying any political affiliation, he stated, “All of my workers and leaders were threatened. They were arrested and ordered to avoid taking part in the electoral process.”
The former minister added: “When they found out that my brother Faisal Chaudhry’s [nomination] papers have been accepted, they named him as co-accused along with me in a NAB case.”
“I am ready to bear all hardships but it would be inappropriate to involve my workers, friends, family and voters in further calamities when the results are already prepared,” he said.
Terming it a “waste of time” to demand resignations from ECP officials, Fawad asserted that the ECP had “failed horribly in fulfilling its responsibilities”. “A government formed through such elections will not only be deprived of a moral but legal mandate as well, and would not at all have the capability to fight the country’s crises and challenges,” he said.