EVM ‘simplest way to rig polls’: Fazl

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PDM rejects electoral reforms, AJK poll results

Staff Reporter
Islamabad

Pakistan Democratic Movement chief Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday declared the electronic voting machine as the “simplest way to rig elections” as the alliance rejected the government’s “unilateral” electoral reforms and Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s election results.

The press conference came after the Opposition alliance met in Islamabad after a two-month hiatus, during which it decided to direct all its efforts in holding “free and fair elections in the country.”

The meeting’s participants unanimously agreed the country faces severe internal and external threats, while the incumbent government has “completely failed” in combating the prevailing threats, the PDM chief said.

“Pakistan is facing isolation due to the current regime’s policies,” the PDM chief said, slamming the government for its “failed” foreign policy, as Pakistan was not allowed to present its case during the UNSC meeting on Afghanistan.

“PDM believes the only way forward in Afghanistan is through an inclusive political solution; Pakistan aspires for a political and stable Afghanistan,” Fazl said.

Fazl said the PDM leaders took an in-depth review of the internal and external matters, after which, the meeting’s participants demanded that Opposition lawmakers should be taken into confidence over the situation in the neighbouring war-torn country.

“An important faction of the country is unaware of the situation as its facts are being hidden from them,” the JUI-F chief said.

Speaking about the PDM’s next course of action, he said PDM’s steering committee would meet on August 21 in Islamabad, during which the parties will mull over the recommendations presented today after internal deliberations.

The PDM chief said final decisions will be made in the alliance’s leadership meeting on August 28 in Karachi, following which, on August 29, a massive rally will be held in the pory city.

“At this time, there is no constitutional governance in the country […] attacks of freedom of expression are rampant, journalists are being ambushed,” he said, adding PDM had condemned the acts.

All institutions should work within the constitutional framework and eliminate their role outside of it, so that the country can start running on the constitution, Fazl said.

“We rejected each and every electoral reform put forward by this selected government, and we believe that NAB and FIA have become political institutions, who have lost their standing, as they are being used against the Opposition,” he said.

The PDM demands the cases registered by the FIA against journalists be taken back, he said, asking that the government end its tactics to gag the press.

The meeting also decided that Qaumi Watan Party’s chief Aftab Sherpao will be made the senior vice-president of the alliance, he said.

Fazl said the government has “sucked out the lost drop of people’s blood” as it has caused historic inflation and unemployment, in its bid to meet the condition of the International Monetary Fund.

Taking over the press conference, Shahbaz said PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s medical treatment was underway in the UK, and a heart-related operation of his was crucial.

“He (Nawaz) will not return without getting treated; it is unfortunate that the government is politicising the health of a three time prime minister,” Shahbaz said.

The PML-N president reminded that several people had “stooped so low” that when Nawaz’s wife was on her death bed, they would make “absurd” comments about her health.

JUI-F and PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman presided over the meeting, with Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Mahmood Khan Achakzai in attendance.

PML-N Senator Prof Sajid Mir, National Party Senator Mir Kabir Mohammad Shahi, JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani, Qaumi Watan Party leader Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan Shah Owais Noorani also attended the meeting.

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz attended the meeting via video link, while other party leaders were present in person.

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