Lahore (APP): Federal Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah on Monday said that Imran Khan was trying to pressurize the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by hurling allegations of rigging in the Punjab by-elections which had already been won by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
“We will not allow Imran Khan to blackmail the institutions,” he said while addressing a news conference along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb.
He said that nobody could question the transparency of the Punjab by-elections which were held in a free and fair manner. The elections would also be held in the same way in the future.
The interior minister said that it was Imran Khan who set records for rigging the by-polls in his tenure. Traditionally, a party that lost elections complained about the rigging but it was the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that had established a new tradition by expressing full confidence in the results of Punjab by-polls.
Rana Sanaullah said the PML-N strongly condemned the “vile attack” launched by Imran Khan on the incumbent chief election commissioner. All the political parties including the PML-N would not let Imran Khan humiliate the heads of the institutions.
“The entire nation had full confidence in the ECP and all of its members,” he said, adding, “we believe in the democratic traditions and reject Imran’s allegations regarding rigging in the Punjab by-polls.”
The PML-N had brought the load-shedding to an end and made the country nuclear power, he said, vowing that the ruling party would win the next general election with a thumping majority.
He said it seemed that Imran Khan’s persistent attack on the CEC was meant to pressurize him as the decision of PTI’s foreign funding case had already been reserved. He said the institutions should not bow to Imran’s pressure and exercise their legal powers.
Recalling the episode of Daska’s by-election where the PTI government allegedly abducted the election commission staff and did massive rigging. He said no major incident was reported in Punjab where the by-polls were held peacefully and the results were accepted by all the candidates.
The minister said there were some 3,140 polling stations in Punjab by-polls and with the grace of God, only minor incidents were reported from seven or eight areas.
He said the PML-N did introspection over losing the seats in Punjab and reviewed its overall strategy during the by-polls. It appeared that the constituents were angry with the PML-N’s candidates for not carrying out the development work in the respective constituencies.
Rana Sanaullah said Imran Khan would have dissolved the Punjab and KPK assemblies if he really wanted to hold a general election in the country.
He said Imran Khan was against the Chief Election Commissioner because he had ordered re-election in the bye-election of Daska after rigging allegations were proved by the then PTI government.
To a question about Asif Ali Zardari’s party meetings, he said that he could not pre-empt the decision of his allies, however, any future strategy would be decided collectively by all the allied parties of the government.
While talking about the possibility of heading towards early elections after PTI’s landslide victory in Punjab by-elections, Rana Sanaullah said that the coalition partners would consider the question of early elections, and their decision will be final.
He said that the PMLN is, was, and will be bound by the coalition parties’ decision regarding the dissolution of the assemblies.
“The decision will be made after we present the matter before the parties,” said the interior minister.