ECP impeding real freedom thru strong democracy: Imran

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday declared that following its failure to control “people of Pakistan” “the imported ruling alliance” is plotting to steal the public mandate through the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

“The ECP and its chief are the major hurdle in achieving real freedom through strong democracy”, Imran declared while addressing the protesters gathered outside the ECP offices in various cities of the country via video link on Thursday.

He said they [incumbent government] bought loyalties of the PTI lawmakers through money in an attempt to break the party to no avail.

“Now, they are now trying to control people through the ECP,” he said.

The ousted premier said the electoral authority went beyond its limits and met a PML-N delegation wherein the ruling alliance leaders urged the ECP to announce the verdict in PTI prohibited funding case at the earliest.

The PTI chief said the incumbent rulers were worried about the public reaction and after realising that they could not silence them through intimidation they were now trying to control them through the top electoral body.

“They can enslave the people through the ECP as it can manipulate polls. I introduced EVMs [electronic voting machines] so that secret hands don’t rig the elections,” he added.

Citing an independent watchdog report, Imran said as many as 163 ways to rig the elections which can be eliminated through using EVMs. “India and Iran are also using the same technology as well.”

The ECP in cahoots with the government sabotaged our plan to introduce EVMs. “They wanted to control the people of Pakistan.. it means you cannot elect or topple any government through your votes.”

Without naming anyone, Imran said some powers in the country wanted to control the country by manipulating elections and for this reason his all attempts to stop rigging and horse-trading in the polls were “sabotaged” by the ECP.

“I demanded a show of hand voting method in the Senate. The ECP remained indifferent to rigging and horse-trading during several by-elections,” he added.

The PTI chief while commenting on the ECP verdict in the prohibited funding case said receiving funds from overseas Pakistanis was not foreign funding. “Receiving funds from foreign countries or companies which can influence your policies is foreign funding.”

He said his party did not commit any wrongdoing by raising funds for his party from overseas Pakistanis, saying the ECP ’wrongly’ termed donations from expatriates as foreign funding.

“Many renowned people formed their political parties but could not succeed because they did not have sources of funding.”

He said two “mafias” – the PPP and the PML-N – used ill-gotten money to fund their political campaign “because no one would donate their money for political purposes”.

“The PTI was the first party in the country which collected money through political fundraising”

He said his party established a company in the US because it was illegal in America to raise funds without a limited liability company (LLC).

The ousted prime minister said the law which barred parties from receiving funds from companies was enacted in 2017 whereas the PTI received funds in 2012, hence “no illegality was committed”.

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