ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has stressed that his party did not believe that martial law was the solution to Pakistan's problems.
Addressing a news conference here Monday, Imran accused former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice (retd) Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, then caretaker chief minister Najam Sethi, and few others as the key players behind rigging in the 2013 general elections.
Imran made it clear that PTI's position was clear on the 'Azadi March' and asked Dr Tahirul Qadri to ensure that the 'Inquilab march' was peaceful. He appealed the Punjab police and bureaucracy to save Pakistan. According to Imran, Justice Ramday had invited Returning Offices (ROs) to dinners where the then chief justice was the chief guest and expressed that Nawaz Sharif was the best option.
He alleged that Justice Ramday was behind Nawaz Sharif's victory speech to influence Returning Officers. He said for Justice Ramday's role, his sons were rewarded, as Mustafa Ramday was appointed Advocate General while Asad Ramday was the MNA from Toba Tek Singh. A niece of Justice (retd) Ramday was elected on a reserved seat, he pointed out.
The PTI chief referred to former chief justice as the opening batsman for the PML-N. He claimed that son of former chief judge Arsalan Iftikhar was appointed as vice chairman of the Balochistan Investment Board to return the favour. Referring to Najam Sethi, he said he had been rewarded for the '35 punctures' and his tax had been waived off.
On the other hand, Anwar Mehboob and current secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Ishtiaq Ahmed have been given extensions. Tariq Bajwa and Shahid Khan were also rewarded for their duties, he said. He said he had been informed that Justice (retd) Riaz Kayani who was the provincial ECP commissioner was playing the PML-N's game.
The PTI chief also said Punjab Election Commissioner Anwar Mehboob had been transferred from Sindh in violation of ECP rules. He said Mehboob had printed new ballot papers on what he said were orders received from the top. He claimed that ballot papers for the 2013 elections were printed somewhere else and not the Pakistan Printing Press.
The extra ballot papers were needed for five divisions which had 98 NA seats and a local printer in Lahore had admitted that extra ballot papers were printed, he said. Imran said the 'Azadi March' on August 14 would be peaceful as he called for those behind election rigging to be held accountable. The PTI chairman appealed to Dr Tahiul Qadri and other political parties to join the protest.
Imran said he would try to bring Dr Qadri on the PTI's agenda and tell him revolution can only take place through free and fair elections. He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did his infamous victory speech at the behest of Justice Ramday as he was controlling the Returning Officers. Ramday made Nawaz Sharif do the victory speech so that ROs get under influence.
He said Azadi March on August 14 will be peaceful and requested the Punjab civil servants to save Pakistan for the sake of their children. Imran said that history gives them an example that a better democracy brings more progress. Addressing the police authorities, Imran said Punjab police should not work as servants of Sharif family.
“I appeal to Qadri sahib, all political parties and even disgruntled PML-N members to join us, we will have a peaceful protest only,” he said. "If something like the Model Town incident happens again, it would take Pakistan towards destruction,” he warned. He appealed to people to maintain peace and to avoid vandalism and bloodshed as this would be a historic movement.
He questioned as to why the government was afraid of holding fresh elections. He claimed that if elections were held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, his party would bag more votes.