PML-N undermining democracy to seize power, says Salman Akram Raja
SC lawyer says his victory in NA-128 turned into defeat by RO, vows legal action against rigging
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Slamming the PML-N led by Nawaz Sharif, Salman Akram Raja, a PTI-backed independent candidate from Lahore's NA-128 constituency, on Monday asserted that those who once advocated for the integrity of the vote were now aiming to seize power by undermining the very essence of democracy.
The senior lawyer, while speaking to media outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office, alleged that the election was rigged, stating that he was winning by a wide margin according to the Form 45, but his victory was turned into defeat the following day.
Raja called this (rigging) an insult to the millions of people who used their franchise right on the polling day, recalling that he had been forcibly removed from the office of the RO (returning officer) so that the results could be manipulated.
"What kind of magic turned a lead of 0.1 million into 12,000,” the electoral candidate questioned, asserting that the election was rigged and “we know how it was done”.
According to Salman Akram Raja, he won the election with a lead of at least 90,000 votes [against Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party candidate Awn Saqlain Chaudhry]. He said he would take legal action and challenge this decision at every forum.
Raja also mentioned the disruption of internet and suspension of cellular services on Feb 8, which according to him, was carried out to sow confusion and fracas.
The Supreme Court lawyer held the view that only the state could end rigging, but added that it seemed as if the officials of the state themselves were involved in rigging.
“Rigging was done by electoral and police officers. It occurred in the ROs’ offices. The role of ROs was extremely regrettable,” he went on to add.
Announcing the future course of action [in response to the rigging], the PTI-backed independent candidate said they would hold peaceful protests.
Asked about the efforts of the PML-N and the PPPP towards the formation of a collation government, Raja remarked that what a government would do for the country and the people if it was based on lies.
It is important to note here that Salman Akram Raja has challenged the victory of Awn Chaudhry in the Lahore High Court.