Third phase of local polls: Benazir hails triumphant Awam Dost candidates
Islamabad: Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister and the chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has congratulated the winning Awam Dost candidates in the third phase of the local body elections held on Thursday.
According to a statement issued on Friday, the PPP chairperson complemented all Awam Dost candidates and activists who participated in Thursday’s elections and said that the PPP-backed candidates had only been denied of a landslide victory due to the unprecedented state-sponsored rigging and manipulation in the local elections.
The former prime minister said that the current military regime had used underhanded election tactics to keep the opposition candidates from winning the local elections.
She said that the results of the September-phase of the local elections had clearly demonstrated that the combined opposition parties had secured a majority of the local seats from areas such as Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Shaikhupura, Multan, Bahawalnagar and Kasur, indicating the Musharraf government’s lack of popular support.
Benazir Bhutto said that the mandate given to opposition party-backed candidates in the local elections had caused the ruling party to review its future political course as they were now mulling changes in the Constitution to elect the country’s president through an indirect method. She said that such a move would strip the people of their basic voting rights and make it easier for Gen Musharraf to have himself reelected by a small electoral college.
The former prime minister further said that although the government had tried its utmost to manipulate the election results in its favor, it was a matter of pride that the people of the country had remained firm in their support of the PPP. She said that the votes of the councilors in areas such as Nawabshah and Larkana were double stamped to diminish the majority of the Awam Dost group. nni