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Saturday, July 20, 2024

PTI Faces Obstacles: Alleged Harassment and Challenges During Nomination Process

In various locations, including Hafizabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha, and Bahawalpur, incidents ranged from nomination paper snatching to raids on candidates' homes and the refusal of ROs to accept certain nomination papers.

Despite reassurances from the election watchdog and the judiciary, the PTI faced ongoing targeted actions during the submission of nomination papers for the February 8 elections. Almost every party member attempting to receive or submit papers reported being stopped, arrested, or subjected to harassment, a complaint voiced by the embattled party on Friday.

In numerous instances, PTI aspirants were prevented from reaching returning officers, contradicting the caretaker government’s claim of ensuring a level playing field for all candidates.

Read more: Breaking: PTI’s ‘Bat’ Symbol Revoked by ECP Amidst Intra-Party Election Scandal

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court dismissed a petition related to an alleged incident of nomination paper snatching in Mianwali, as the police denied any such occurrence.

According to PTI lawyers, the police have compiled a list of over 50 PTI leaders already implicated in cases stemming from the May 9 riots across Punjab, effectively barring them from participating in the electoral process. PTI leaders asserted that their constitutional rights were being trampled by law enforcement.

On Friday, Rashid Nabi Malik, husband of incarcerated Dr. Yasmin Rashid, was arrested from the RO’s office when attempting to submit her nomination papers. Mr. Malik faced injury in a scuffle with the police when resisting handing over the papers to contest against PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif.

Read more: Latif Khosa from PPP announces joining PTI at Imran Khan’s request

PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan urged the ECP chief in a post to take note of and halt the alleged madness. He expressed concern that the elections in Pakistan might become the most controversial and rigged in history if immediate action wasn’t taken.

PTI leader Moonis Elahi tweeted that his mother went to the Gujrat RO to submit nomination papers, but the police locked the office from inside. Elahi claimed that PTI candidates’ proposers and seconders were being arrested and tortured.

PTI’s central Punjab additional general secretary, Sardar Azeemullah Khan, told Dawn that the government was targeting every potential person in the party. Individuals were being nominated in FIRs, leading to the blocking of CNICs and bank accounts or home raids to harass and humiliate family members, ensuring their exclusion from the polls.

In Lahore, the nomination papers of Hafiz Farhat were snatched from his lawyers, and Hammad Azhar’s house was raided, with police searching for nomination papers.

Jail officials reportedly did not allow Hassaan Niazi and Sanam Javed to sign their nomination papers.

In various locations, including Hafizabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha, and Bahawalpur, incidents ranged from nomination paper snatching to raids on candidates’ homes and the refusal of ROs to accept certain nomination papers.

The ECP took strong notice of these reported difficulties faced by potential candidates in receiving and submitting nomination papers, directing necessary action under the law against those responsible. The Commission sought to ensure that no harassment would be caused to petitioners or any other person seeking to submit nomination papers.