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“We don’t see free and fair elections taking place in Pakistan,” say PML-N Senator

"Dark clouds are looming over the elections"

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is seemingly convinced that the upcoming general elections are not going to be ‘free and fair’. The senators belonging to the embattled PML-N, on Friday, expressed serious reservations regarding the upcoming general elections. They also demanded that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the caretaker government to address their concerns urgently.

PML-N, Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi warned during the requisitioned session that “dark clouds are looming over the elections” and if their concerns are not addressed in time, suggested the senator, there is likely to be ‘heavy loss for the nation’.

Mr. Abbasi maintained that many other political parties are also complaining against the pre-poll rigging. The ECP is responsible to hold free and fair general elections, the senator said. “[We] don’t see free and fair elections taking place in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the PML-N’s link with voters could not be broken by imprisoning its quaid Nawaz Sharif.

Dr. Askari has clarified many times that “the caretaker set up in Punjab is totally apolitical and impartial, and holding free and fair elections was prime responsibility of the caretaker government and it would be performed in the best manner”.

“Don’t establish customs which you might regret tomorrow,” he cautioned. “Our reservations should be addressed.”

Read more: PML-N senator public groping : Has child harassment become normalized in…

Rasheed Slams the Establishment

Another PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rasheed in his speech said if the results of the July 25 elections come out in favour of “those with empty chairs [at rallies]” — an apparent reference to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) — and against “those with filled rallies” — a reference to the PML-N — then “the anger will not be against the winners, but those who enabled the winners”.

Without naming anyone Mr. Rasheed kept on bashing at those who ‘interfered’ into elections in Pakistan. “You have done the interference that you had to do in the elections,” he said. “You have broken and formed political parties using your force.”

The so-called establishment is considered to be behind almost all alliances and break-ups in the country. The former ruling party blames the establishment for the defections in the party. In recent days, many of PML-N leaders who were not happy over Nawaz Sharif’s anti-judiciary and anti-establishment narrative have left the party. Politicians from South Punjab, who stood up for a separate province, have also joined the PTI.

Read more: PML-N boasts completion of democratic tenure

PML-N Establishing New Narrative

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed meanwhile claimed that some party workers from Okara had called him yesterday and said that they were approached by “people from the agriculture department” — a phrase the PML-N has been using in reference to security personnel — who had asked them to vote for the “jeep”. “I told them the jeep has been punctured now,” Syed said, adding that he will reveal the names and ranks of the persons who are allegedly forcing his party workers to switch loyalties. “The filth that [they] wanted to create has been created,” he said. “Let free elections be held now … or the reaction will be such that no force will be able to stop it.”

The ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment under NAB ordinance Section 9(a)(v), which relates to owning assets disproportionate to known sources of income.

PML-N and other political parties are blaming the establishment for its alleged role in pre-poll rigging in the country. But there is still no evidence provided by these parties to confirm if there is something really wrong with the ECP or caretaker set-up. Mr. Syed claimed that some journalists had told him that the verdict against Nawaz Sharif and others in the Avenfield reference was announced “immediately after something was brought [into the accountability court] in a bag [marked with] Serena Hotels [insignia]”.

He alleged that the judgement against Sharif was pre-written and a conspiracy was planned to sentence the former prime minister before the elections in order to prevent him from taking part in the election campaign. The PML-N is trying to establish a new narrative before the elections to prepare its supporters for the post-elections scenario.

Allegations of rigging before the elections will help the party to justify its defeat, if it happens. After the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif many party leaders and workers have revolted against the party and changed their loyalties. Apparently, the former ruling party is making efforts to blame the establishment for all those defections in the party.

Read more: PML-N’s love-hate relationship with MQM continues under Shehbaz Sharif’s Presidency

Decision against Nawaz Sharif

It is important to mention here that an accountability court has awarded total 10 years imprisonment to Nawaz Sharif, 7 and 1 years to Maryam Nawaz and her Husband Captain Retired Safdar respectively in a reference filed by the NAB against Sharif family. The ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment under NAB ordinance Section 9(a)(v), which relates to owning assets disproportionate to known sources of income.

PML-N and other political parties are blaming the establishment for its alleged role in pre-poll rigging in the country. But there is still no evidence provided by these parties to confirm if there is something really wrong with the ECP or caretaker set-up.

The Section 9(a)(v) of the NAB ordinance states: “A holder of a public office, or any other person, is said to commit or to have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices…. if he or any of his dependents or benamidar owns, possesses, or has [acquired] right or title in any ["assets or holds irrevocable power of attorney in respect of any assets] or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot [r[reasonably]ccount for [o[or maintains a standard of living beyond that which is commensurate with his sources of income.]

Read more: NAB investigates PML-N’s KPK President over corruption

Dr. Hassan Askari a Good Professor

Meanwhile, PML-N Senator retired Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum expressed a lack of confidence in Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Dr Hassan Askari, saying he doesn’t possess the experience required for his post.

“The Punjab chief minister can be a good professor [i[instead] he said.

Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad taunted the Punjab chief minister, saying his ‘Askari’ surname was befitting because he supports the ‘Askari’ forces.

Dr. Askari is a known academician and analyst based in Lahore. He took oath as caretaker chief minister of Punjab on June 8, 2018. Dr. Askari has clarified many times that “the caretaker set up in Punjab is totally apolitical and impartial, and holding free and fair elections was prime responsibility of the caretaker government and it would be performed in the best manner”.


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