Standing defiant to demands by some government and opposition leaders to offer a public apology over his failed rigging allegations, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday retaliated by saying that not he, but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should apologise to the nation because the judicial commission had vindicated the PTI and other parties’ stance over rigging in the 2013 general elections.
“Mian sahib [PM Sharif] you should tender an apology to the nation—why should PTI apologise? We only demanded for a fair enquiry into [rigging of] four constituencies,” Khan said while addressing a press conference held to elaborate the PTI’s position on the judicial commission’s report.
Claiming that PTI was forced to stage the sit-n protest in the federal capital after former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry closed all doors on the party, Khan said that the former top judge should have taken notice of polls rigging but he did not let authorities open the bags in four constituencies, as per the party’s demand.
Khan said there was no conspiracy behind the party’s decision to launch a protest campaign and the military’s leadership was not involved. He also rejected the notion that PTI had wasted time in protests, saying that the dharna had created political awareness among masses. However, he did admit that he had neglected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where his party is in power, because of his focus on the anti-government protests. “I will now focus on improving PTI’s governance in KP,” he said.
Urging the nation to read the findings of the commission, Khan said that he had already stated that he would accept the report.
“We accepted the results for bringing transparency and for the sake of democracy’s future.”
KHAN SAYS A ‘BIT DISAPPOINTED’:
The PTI leaders said he was a bit disappointed because the chief justice conducted the probe so well and their expectations were high. “We expected him not to leave it half finished.”
“The chief justice brilliantly conducted this probe. He was alert, listening to every word, remembering every detail. But we had higher hopes.”
Khan said that even though he had accepted the commission’s ruling, he and his party had reservations over parts of the report which declared the elections lawful.
Referring to the verdict, wherein the commission said “the 2013 general elections were in large part organised and conducted fairly and in accordance with the law,” Khan asked how the commission could declare that the elections were conducted lawfully when around 20 million votes could not be verified as 35 per cent of form-15 could not be recovered.
Khan also lashed out at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), saying the ECP had no idea of how the elections were being conducted.
Quoting the judicial commission report, the PTI chief said, “ECP had no coordination with provincial election commissions.”
Khan, however, did raise some questions, asking “Why were the Returning Officers (ROs) in Punjab given the carte blanche to decide how many extra ballots to print. Under what law was it justified?”
“Why were the ROs taking decisions in Punjab, while in other provinces the decisions were taken by the provincial election commissions?” he questioned.
“Initially I wanted them to open only four constituencies as a sample case to probe alleged rigging, but it took them a year to do so,” said the PTI chief.
“Why did it take them two years and four months to get a judicial commission report?”
The PTI chief called for the resignations of all four members of the ECP, saying they were responsible for massive irregularities and mismanagement in the poll.
Responding to a question, Imran Khan said his party will form a strong opposition in the National Assembly and went on to add that “the whole country will see what real change is with the examples we are setting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).”
However, the PTI chief said that although his party members would be going to the National Assembly session, he was yet to take a decision on his participation in the sessions.