Chaos in NA over by-election results
* Opposition accuses government of rigging
* Says brother of Lahore SSP made returning officer to secure seat for Mir
ISLAMABAD: There was an uproar in the National Assembly on Tuesday followed by a token walkout by opposition legislators who protested the results of the by-election in NA 127, Lahore.
The opposition accused the government of rigging the polls, spending Rs 500 million of public and using government machinery to secure its candidate’s victory.
Opposition members Khwaja Saad Rafiq, Tehmina Daultana, Dr Fareed Piracha, Raja Pervez Ashraf and others raised points of order on the issue. They said that the results of the general elections in 2002 showed that the ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League, was at the bottom when the opposition contested on separate platforms in the constituency. They questioned how a government candidate could win this time when all opposition parties had allied against the government-backed candidate, Farooq Amjad Mir.
Mir won the by-election on February 27 by securing 4,353 votes against the opposition candidate Naseer Ahmed Butta.
The opposition members said that their candidate was wining till the closure of the polling but after that the results were changed at the behest of Chief Minister’s House. They said that the brother of Lahore SSP who hailed from Gujrat was appointed the returning officer. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Sher Afgan was the first who defended the government, challenging the opposition to bring proof if they had filed any written complaint at any polling station to the presiding officer or other official of the Election Commission.
Afgan said the opposition was nervous because of the defeat and so was levelling baseless allegations. He was continuing to defend the government when the opposition members started chanting slogans of “Lota, Lota” (turncoat), referring to the minister’s change of loyalty because he had won the elections on the PPP ticket but later joined the PPP-Patriots.
The discussion became more acrimonious when treasury members Tahira Asif, Sardar Giyan Singh, Sardar Tofail, Rajub Ali Baloch, Raiz Hussain Pirzada criticised the opposition for not accepting the results. They said that the Election Commission had conducted the election transparently.