LAHORE: Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri on Saturday announced that his party would not contest the general elections scheduled to be held on July 25.
“We were never a part of this system trampling rights of the people,” Qadri said while announcing his party’s decision at a press conference.
When asked if PAT was boycotting elections, the PAT chief responded: “I didn’t use the word boycott.”
He said his party couldn’t be part of a system that commits crimes in the name of democracy and that all of the PAT members would soon take back their nomination forms.
The PAT chairman said the current political system protects the corrupt and suppresses the poor. “We cannot stand in its support,” he added.
Recalling the Model Town carnage, Qadri asked whether it was “democracy that happened on June 17, 2014, in Lahore”.
He also appeared irked by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) decision to give tickets to ‘electables’.
Without naming the party’s chief Imran Khan, he said that the statement on electables as being essential for elections went against PTI’s slogan of change.
PAT has emerged as the first political party to officially announce its non-participation in the general elections.
The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) request to the Ministry of Defence for deployment of at least 350,000 armed forces personnel in the upcoming general elections has already been approved.
The core purpose of the deployment of the military will be maintaining law and order during the elections countrywide. Besides, police personnel will also be deployed inside and outside polling stations to ensure implementation of the ECP’s code of conduct.
The security of printing press, printing of ballot papers and their delivery to respective polling stations will be carried out under army’s supervision, ECP officials said.
Meanwhile, the ECP has registered 105,955,407 voters including 59,224,262 males and 46,731,145 females for upcoming general elections.