LAHORE: Issuing an ultimatum to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Saturday gave the polling body up until October 4 to replace its existing four members, while also announcing a demonstration outside ECP headquarters if the party’s demands are not met.
Addressing a gathering in Lahore on Saturday, Imran said his party would contest all by-polls and local bodies elections, but not under the existing ECP set up.
He announced Jehangir Tareen would contest the by-poll from NA-154 Lodhran while Aleem Khan would compete from NA-122, the constituency where Imran contested against Ayaz Sadiq in the general elections of 2013. Shoaib Siddiqi will contest election from PP-147 which falls under NA-122, said Imran.
Imran said his party would not allow anybody to do rig the upcoming polls.
“We will install cameras at every polling station and will not allow anybody to cast fake votes,” he said.
Reiterating his stance on ECP, the PTI chief said the polling body acted as if it was election commission of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
He said the polling body had until October 4 to replace the existing ECP members, adding that his party would decide its future course of action on October 4, depending on whether the ECP meets its demands or not.
Earlier, Imran had said the poll inquiry commission’s verdict on general elections would have been different provided the election tribunals gave their ruling first.
“The judicial commission investigated the elections as a whole while elections tribunals have counted each and every ballot,” said Imran while talking to media outside Bani Gala before leaving for a party meeting in Lahore. “Decisions by the tribunals were delayed deliberately.”
The commission in its 237-page report had said despite some lapses on part of the ECP “the 2013 general elections were in large part organised and conducted fairly and in accordance with the law.”
Accusing the ECP of colluding with ruling PML-N in poll rigging, the PTI chief said the party would decide if they would contest the upcoming by-polls and local government elections under the same ‘umpires.’
Regarding the cancellation of party rally, Imran said there were security threats and he could not put his workers’ life in danger.
He was scheduled to arrive in Lahore on Saturday to host rallies marking the party’s recent victory as the election tribunal announced re-polling in NA-122 and NA-154. However, Lahore administration failed to give the party security clearance.
The PTI chief once again challenged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to contest against him in NA-122.
“I am inviting you. Have a match with me. You can bring your own umpires just like you used to [during our cricket matches] in Lahore Gymkhana,” said Imran.