PTI Stages Nationwide Protests Amidst Allegations of Election Rigging

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is set to stage nationwide protests today at noon, in response to alleged election rigging and the undermining of their mandate in the February 8 polls. This move comes amidst a wave of political unrest following the general elections, with several parties taking to the streets as unofficial results trickled in.

PTI, despite emerging as the largest group with over 90 National Assembly seats, has expressed dissatisfaction with the results. The party has announced peaceful protests across the country against what they describe as “record-high rigging” during the elections. In a statement, PTI claimed that their victory of 180 National Assembly seats and a two-thirds majority in parliament was halved due to the alleged rigging.

In a press conference held in Islamabad yesterday, PTI presented Form 45s to highlight discrepancies with Form 47s, alleging that the 2024 elections set “records of rigging”. PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan stated that the elections would be remembered for the scale of rigging, with candidates who were leading according to Form 45 later declared runners-up in Form 47.

However, PTI is not alone in its concerns over the February 8 polls. Other parties, including the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), have also raised allegations of election rigging.

In anticipation of PTI’s protests, authorities have issued two threat alerts due to serious terrorism threats from specific banned groups. Islamabad Police Inspector General Dr Akbar Nasir Khan has emphasized that no protests will be allowed in the federal capital. He denied that any party has sought permission for protests and stated that demonstrations by any group or party would not be permitted.

Additional troops of Punjab Rangers have been deployed to handle any potential unrest in the city. With Police Order 2002 in effect in Islamabad, no gathering or activity will be allowed without prior police or administrative permission. All political parties have been informed of the imposition of Section 144 in the city. Authorities have advised women and individuals under 18 years of age to avoid the F-9 park and F-6 areas from 10 am to 1 pm.

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