NA-75: Did agencies rig by-polls in Daska?

The PML-N has submitted a petition to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), demanding a re-election in the entire NA-75 constituency instead of 20 polling stations, the party’s vice president Maryam Nawaz told the media on Wednesday, adding that agencies falling under the premier were involved in the rigging.

While speaking to the media in Lahore, Maryam accused the ruling PTI of being involved in “very disciplined rigging”, adding that voters had been “harassed” in order to discourage them from voting. She said that the assertions that the alleged rigging was done on a local level were not true.

“Agencies, which come under Imran Khan, the vote thief, were involved [in the rigging],” she claimed and warned that she will “expose the names” if the government does not come clean.

When that failed, Maryam said, polling stations were shut down “by design” and voting process was suspended for up to six hours in some places. She said that videos, which she herself had shared on Twitter, showed how people had break the door of a polling station.

“When [they saw] that despite this historic, blatant and naked rigging, PML-N was still in the lead, they kidnapped 20 officials in the garb of fog,” she said. “This is not me saying this, Election Commission’s press release is also saying it. It said that when they returned, results were altered.

“After this, how can I accept re-poll in 20 polling stations? […] The vote of entire Daska was stolen, how can we accept this, we can’t.”

Maryam’s statements come days after Prime Minister Imran Khan requested PTI’s candidate from Daska to ask for re-polling in 20 polling stations, the results of which is being questioned by the PML-N and the ECP.

Last week, the ECP had said in a statement that it suspected that results of 20 polling stations was falsified.

In her media talk yesterday, the PML-N’s vice president also urged the ECP to ensure that action is taken against the officials who were allegedly involved in rigging.

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The by-election in the NA-75 constituency was marred by violence after two people were killed and three others injured in a firing incident at a polling station in Daska.

Notably, the seat of NA-75 Tehsil Daska, District Sialkot was vacated after the death of PML-N’s MNA Syed Iftikhar-ud-Din in August 2020. PML-N gave the ticket to his daughter, Nosheen Iftikhar, in the by-election.

PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah had petitioned for the polling time to be increased in view of the disruption. He accused the “government’s thugs” to attempting to thin out the voter turnout with violence, claiming that PTI’s polling camps were all empty and unattended.

The request was turned down by the Election Commission.

PTI’s Usman Dar, in response, accused Sanaullah of disturbing the law and order in the constituency. “Rana Sanaullah was roaming around with groups of armed men,” he said, adding that a police complaint will be registered against him. He claimed Sanaullah “wants to do in Daska what was done in Model Town”.

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Chief Minister Buzdar, while taking notice of the firing incident, has sought a report from the inspector general of Police (IGP). The chief minister has ordered the arrest of the suspects at the earliest and said that action would be initiated against those found responsible without any discrimination.