PM Kakar surprised at rigging allegations despite ‘PTI founder’s loyalists in lead’

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ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister (PM) Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Monday voiced his surprise over the allegations pertaining to rigging during elections 2024 despite PTI founder Imran Khan s loyalists being in lead, ARY News reported.

Addressing a press conference, the interim premier stressed that allegations of rigging were generated through social media which were based upon “misconceptions and contrary to the ground realities”, noting that throughout the democratic history, people had always questioned the electoral process.

PM Kakar reiterated that the interim setup had provided level playing field to all political parties during the elections 2024 and being free and fair process, a large number of independent candidates backed by PTI emerged as the largest single group on the national and provincial assemblies seats.

“Such results indicated the transparency and non -interference by any quarters”, the caretaker prime minister emphasised.

However, Kakar said, there might be shortcomings or other minor issues, but by and large, the elections were held in a manner in which the entire nation and the law enforcement agencies deserved kudos despite various security challenges.

“Where the PTI has public support, it got that and they have results never dreamt of during 2018,” he said, adding that the loyalists of jailed PTI leaders have emerged as returned candidates in the general elections but no one was appreciating that aspect of the neutrality of the caretaker government.

Read More: ECP refutes allegations of rigging during elections 2024

The prime minister, to a question, said that despite various threats prior to February 8 election day and two terrorist attacks in Balochistan province, all the stakeholders deserved appreciation over the big achievement for the peaceful conduct of the polls.

He also brushed aside any threats to the integrity of the country due to certain protests and agitations held by certain parties by saying It is an absurd chronology to relate the situation with Dhaka during 1971.

“These are the mere rhetoric. Pakistan is a very stable and responsible country. Holding of peaceful protest is the democratic right of the people,” he said, however hastened to add that no government could allow the situation leading to chaos or anarchy.

Responding to a query, PM Kakar maintained that over 60million voters had exercised their constitutional right to elect their favorite candidates under a pressure-free environment .

The caretaker prime minister said that the delay in the announcement of official results were caused by the specific procedures regarding compiling of results at 92,000 polling stations and credited the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for conducting the massive exercise in a smooth manner.

He said the official results were announced within 36 hours while during 2018 elections, it took almost 66 hours. There might be irregularities but the relevant forums were available to address these grievances. In Sweden, a similar exercise almost took 10 to 11 days while in Indonesia, almost a month was consumed to furnish results, he added.

To another question, the prime minister said that mobile phone services were suspended on the poll day due to security threats as the government could not compromise on the security of people. On the other hand, broadband internet services were available on that day, enabling people to get connected; he said and rebuffed the allegations that the move was aimed at managing social media.

He said there were other occasions throughout the year, when the mobile services had been suspended to avert security threats.

PM Kakar, responding to a question regarding statements of certain countries over the recently held elections, said that if there were any allegations, they would look into them according to the laws of the land and not on the demands of any country.

“We will do it if is required under the country s laws,” he said, adding that the demands of his countrymen were more important to the government and advised that certain statements by certain US Congressmen should not be taken as sacrosanct or gospel truth as they were not speaking on part of the government.

The elections in Pakistan were held in a free and fair manner and there was no institutional mechanism to favour any group, he stressed.

Read More: Elections 2024 Pakistan results: PTI-backed IND candidates lead in NA

Responding to a query about prospects of forming a commission to investigate the polls allegations, he maintained that it would be up to the upcoming elected government to make assessments over such demands and decide, but he would not speculate about it.

The caretaker prime minister also agreed with the President s views over the need of introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and said that according to his personal view, the political parties should hold threadbare discussions in the next parliament over this issue and legislate if required so that the new electoral system could be more acceptable to all.

He expressed the optimism that after the current transitional period was over and the new government was formed, there would be a positive wave hitting the markets and businesses, adding that economic challenges would still await the next government.

The prime minister also hailed the entry of new voters and said that they would make positive contributions to the democratic process in the future.

To a question, he said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had no issue with the privatization process of the caretaker government. Restructuring of the PIA had almost been done, and it was in the implementation process, however, it was up to the upcoming government to decide either way.

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