Pak opposition leaders allege life threats, poll rigging

Islamabad: As the clock ticks down towards the general elections in Pakistan scheduled on July 25, many opposition leaders in the country accused the Pakistan Army of attempts to rig the elections and swing it in favour of certain political parties like Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Accusing “open rigging” some political parties urged the Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa to note involvement of military officers in the upcoming elections.

A PML-N leader Muhammad Hanif Abbasi said, “Some supporters of Sheikh Rasheed (chief of the Awami Muslim League) barged into our election office and arrested our workers, both old and youth”. According to media reports, Rasheed has the backing of PTI and likely to be projected as leader of opposition depending on the outcome of the results.

Expressing concern over the arrests, Abbasi pointed out that the general election was becoming a “one-sided election.”

Another politician from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Farhatullah Babar named selective Army officers and accused them of giving life threats to his party workers.

Babar said, “Three officers from a security agency, Colonel Mueez, Colonel Abid Shah and Major Shahzad gave death threats to our party workers. This is pre-poll rigging. Others are also involved (in this matter)”.

Furthermore, Sunni Ittehad Council chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza accused a Brigadier ranked Army officer of threatening him unless he withdrew his candidature.

Raza alleged, “Janaab Brigadier Adil has said that either withdraw your candidate or be prepared to face the consequences. Brigadier Adil is involved in election rigging.”

He alleged that the coming elections was a case of “open rigging” and urged the Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa to take notice of the military officers involved in rigging the upcoming general elections.