PPP, PML-N Accuse Each Other Of Massive Rigging26 June 2011
Islamabad: As expected elections for the AJK’s legislative assembly are mired in allegations and counter allegations, with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) trading barbs by accusing each other of massive rigging. Minister for Kashmir Affairs Mian Manzoor Wattoo led the charge by PPP against PML-N when, addressing a press conference, he accused the PML-N of using administrative machinery in Punjab, where it is ruling, to manipulate the results of polls on the seats reserved for the Kashmiri refugees. “PML-N has broken all previous records of rigging,” he alleged. In a tit-for-tat response, PML-N accused the ruling PPP at center of employing all unfair means to influence elections in AJK in its favour. “Mandate of people has been tampered with, and election results have been prepared at President House beforehand,” PML-N AJK Chief Coordinator Siddique al-Farooq told Daily Times. Indications have been quite obvious for the last few days about a fresh showdown between both the parties over the AJK elections, and the same turned true when they pointed fingers at each other for manipulating results of elections in their respective centers of power. PPP’s Manzoor Wattoo fired the first shot by laying the blame on PML-N for rigging elections on seats of the Kashmiri refugees during the course of polling. “Punjab government has broken all records of rigging”, Wattoo alleged and opined that the administration should not have become tool of the provincial government because it is servant of the country and not of a political party. He said that Punjab administration was given a free hand to manipulate polling process in district Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Jhang, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat and Narowal. “Presiding officers were made hostage and polling stations were completely occupied by PML-N people, who used coercive tactics,” he said. He held PML-N responsible for violating sanctity of the elections. The minister of Kashmir affairs, however, claimed that elections on all the 29 seats in Azad Kashmir were held in a free and fair manner, and added that polls postponed on one seat would be held in next week or 10 days. PML-N’s Siddique al-Farooq minced no words when he charged PPP of tampering with the electoral rolls as well as using the money meant for the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to influence elections in the AJK. The way elections have been held, he pointed out, speak in volumes about unfair and illegal means employed by the PPP, which he said, had committed gross rigging in the elections. He said that transparency of these elections could be gauged from the fact that government’s own coalition partner, MQM, expressed distrust in these elections and boycotted them. Siddique said that the results of the AJK elections had been prepared at the Presidency with a troika of ministers involved in manipulating the results. “Manzoor Wattoo, Babar Awan and Rahman Malik are engaged in manipulating the results,” Siddique alleged.