Pakistan bureaucrat takes accountability for election tampering, quits

New Delhi | Updated: 17 February, 2024 7:51 pm IST
Pakistan polls: Rawalpindi commissioner admits to election manipulation, steps down.

NEW DELHI: A high-ranking Pakistani official has stepped down, acknowledging involvement in tampering with the outcomes of the February 8 national elections amid extensive demonstrations.

Liaquat Ali Chattha, the election commissioner for Rawalpindi, announced his resignation during a media briefing on Saturday, stating that he faced “pressure” from senior officials to manipulate the election results.

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He also alleged the involvement of the nation’s highest-ranking officials, including the chief election commissioner and the chief justice, in the electoral fraud.

“I am taking the responsibility for all this wrongdoing and telling you that the chief election commissioner and the chief justice are also completely involved in this,” he was quoted as saying by ‘Dawn’.

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Chattha informed reporters that candidates who were initially “losing” the elections were manipulated to emerge as winners.

“I should be punished for the injustice I have done and others who were involved in this injustice should also be punished. It is my request to the entire bureaucracy to not do anything wrong for all these politicians,” he said while addressing the media.

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His statements coincide with extensive protests across the nation led by supporters of the incarcerated former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who claim that the elections were manipulated against his party to prevent him from assuming power.

The Election Commission of Pakistan dismissed the allegations of rigging, stating that it does not directly interfere in the electoral process. However, it acknowledged the concerns and announced plans to investigate the matter.

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“The Election Commission of Pakistan strongly rejects the allegations levelled by Commissioner Rawalpindi on the chief election commissioner or the election commission and no official of the election commission never issued any instructions regarding changing the election results to Commissioner Rawalpindi,” it said in a statement.

“Neither is the commissioner of any division ever appointed as a DRO, RO, or presiding officer, nor do they ever play a direct role in the conduct of elections,” the statement further read.

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In response to the news, Punjab’s Information Minister, Amir Mir, stated that Chattha had not provided any evidence to support the claim of electoral result manipulation. He told Geo News that the official was scheduled to retire on March 13.

“I think he’s trying to kick-start his political career after he retires,” he remarked.

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