PTI to Hold Nationwide Protests Against ‘Massive Rigging’ on March 2

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has announced that it will hold nationwide protests on March 2 against the alleged ‘massive rigging’ in the 2024 general elections, which it claims deprived the party of its rightful mandate. The PTI has also nominated Amir Dogar and Junaid Khan as its candidates for the positions of National Assembly speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.

The PTI’s Secretary General Omar Ayub, who is also the party’s nominee for the prime minister’s slot, made the announcement after meeting the PTI founder and former prime minister Imran Khan, who is serving a 10-year jail term for leaking state secrets. Ayub said that Imran Khan was confident of the party’s stance and directed them to stage peaceful protests across the country on Saturday.

Ayub alleged that the PTI’s seats were ‘stolen with just a stroke of pen’ by the returning officers, who manipulated the Form-45s, the result sheets of the polling stations. He said that the PTI had the Form-45s of its successful candidates and would challenge the rigging in the courts and the assemblies. He also said that the PTI would mobilise the public to reclaim their mandate.

“Our quaid has taught us to fight till the last ball and our jihad is for the truth. This is why the people of Pakistan have given us a majority and we have the Form-45s with us,” Ayub said.

He also said that Imran Khan had nominated Amir Dogar and Junaid Khan for the post of National Assembly speaker and deputy speaker. Dogar, who won the NA-149 seat from Multan, served as the chief whip and the special assistant to the prime minister on political affairs during Imran Khan’s tenure. He was also among the several PTI leaders who were arrested in the aftermath of the May 9 riots. Junaid Khan, who won the NA-35 seat from Malakand, is one of the oldest members of the PTI and has remained loyal to the party despite many challenges.

Speaking to media outside Adiala jail, PTI’s central leader Sher Afzal Marwat also said that Imran Khan had instructed the party’s elected members to take oath on February 29 and to write to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as per the party’s narrative.

The PTI emerged as the largest party in the February 8 general elections, but fell short of a simple majority. The party also alleged that the elections were ‘not free and fair’ and accused the military establishment of favouring the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and its leader Nawaz Sharif, who returned from exile to contest the polls.

The PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the second and third largest parties in the polls, have decided to form a coalition government in the Centre, Punjab and Balochistan, with Shehbaz Sharif as the prime minister. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Pakistan, the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party and the Balochistan Awami Party have also expressed their intent to join the governmental coalition.

The PTI’s protest call has been supported by some other opposition parties, including the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), who have also rejected the election results and demanded fresh polls.

The election commission has denied the allegations of rigging and said that the elections were conducted in a transparent and fair manner. The commission has also invited the aggrieved parties to file complaints and petitions with evidence.

The international community, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, have expressed their concerns about the credibility of the elections and urged all parties to respect the democratic process and resolve their disputes peacefully.

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