ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Sunday said that the arrangements for local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) were Election Commission’s responsibility, adding that provincial government will go for re-election if rigging took place.
He said KP police is independent and authorized, adding that there are no political motives behind Awami National Party (ANP) leader Mian Iftikhar’s arrest.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Khan said that tribunals should be established to examine complaints of rigging that would pronounce verdicts in one month instead of four.
“Looking at disturbance in different areas, I kept asking CM Khattak about and he replied that he was helpless as the Election Commission was given all the powers during the LB polls,” he said. “The ECP even had the authority to call in military to control the situation where needed.”
“We are proud to have conducted LB elections for the devolution of power to grass-root level,” Khan added.
Commenting on alleged rigging of these polls, the skipper called for the formation of tribunals to identify the ones involved in any wrongdoings.
“We also received complaints that in two districts our opponents massively rigged the elections,” he said.
“If the ECP could not conduct such a huge election, then it would have gone for division-by-division polls,” Imran Khan suggested. “The election commission is responsible for the turmoil as police and the administration was under it and the ECP should learn from it.”
Imran Khan lashed out at the federal government and former president Asif Ali Zardari for labeling Mian Iftikhar Hussain’s arrest in Nowshera as politically motivated.
Khan said the Khyber Pakthunkhwa police was not under political influence, unlike the police in Punjab and Sindh, adding that no one in the provincial government had ordered Mian Iftikhar’s arrest.
“Zardari sahab this is not the Sindh police taking action against Zulfiqar Mirza. We did not order the arrest nor can we order a repeal,” said Imran Khan.
In response to a question, the PTI chairman said that he respects Iftikhar for his bold stances on certain occasions, but the FIR was neither registered on his consent nor on CM Pervez Khattak’s.
Khan said that neither government ordered his arrest, nor it would ask the police to withdraw case against Mian Iftikhar.
“I have great respect Mian Iftikhar, who is a brave man,” he said. “There is no interference of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in police matters. Police will have to act as per the law.”
He said that similarly the FIR can also not be dislodged upon anyone’s directives for the KP Police operates under the law and it is free of any kind of interference.
“Those accusing us of victimization, should first know that we did not make a single case against anyone in KP during last two years, despite several cases have been registered against many of our leaders,” he replied.
“A PTI worker was shot and the witnesses on the spot pointed at the ANP office saying that the bullets were fired from there, following which the police registered a case against Iftikhar,” Khan told. “We neither interfered when the FIR was registered, nor will we do so now”.
When asked about Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s allegations of rigging, the PTI chairman slammed that the JUI-F chief is unaware of reality.
“He (Fazl) does not know that the people have become aware of who is the real preacher and who compromises religion for permits,” said Imran Khan.
“I welcome the JUI-F chief for opening whatever constituency he demands and promise that none of our candidates will take a stay during investigations of irregularities,” he said. “In fact our administration will facilitate the ECP in probing the matter.”
He added that he is sure that PTI seats will increase as result of the audit.
Imran Khan during the presser also castigated former president Asif Ali Zardari for his statement on Mian Iftikhar’s arrest.
A PTI activist, identified as Habibullah, died of gunshot wounds suffered during the clash. A case was registered against the veteran ANP leader and his guards on various charges including murder and attempted murder over the complaint of the deceased’s father.
Addressing the PPP co-chairman, he said that this is the KP Police which functions under the law, unlike the Sindh Police who the people witnessed victimizing Zulfikar Mirza for showing dissent.
The police here consider no pressure and whatever the law and courts say will be acted upon, said the PTI chief.
He rejected impression that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had failed to maintain law and order situation during the polling, saying that the whole provincial administration was at the disposal of ECP.
“I called up Chief Minister Pervez Khattak many a times, but he too was helpless as it was the job of ECP.”
Despite coming into power for five or six times, PML-N and PPP never held local government elections, he said. “This is the change I always talked about. We have devolved power to village level. This is the real democracy.”
Khan said that NADRA chairman has pressure from the federal government owing to which, he said, NADRA chairman has gone abroad.
He urged Election Commission to follow through with NA 122 verdict. NNI