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Pakistan: In dramatic U-turn, ex-Rawalpindi commissioner withdraws rigging allegations; accuses Imran Khan's party

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Islamabad | February 23, 2024 7:54:27 AM IST
In a dramatic development after the February 8 polls in Pakistan, former Rawalpindi commissioner Liaqat Ali Chatha withdrew all his allegations regarding rigging, Geo News reported.

Chatha said that he made the allegations because of "lucrative positions" offered by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, adding that he was "extremely ashamed and embarrassed."

"I take full responsibility for my actions and surrender myself before the authorities for any kind of legal action," Chatha said in a statement to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Last Saturday, Chatha tendered his resignation, which he said was out of "guilty conscience" for abetting large-scale electoral rigging in the garrison city, further raising the political mercury in the country.

The commissioner, in the press conference, took responsibility for the "rigging" that he claimed took place in Rawalpindi Division. "We converted the losers into winners with a 50,000-vote margin," he stated.

In response to his allegations, the PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and other political parties -- most of whom had already rejected the election results -- demanded an investigation into the matter, Geo News reported.

In the same presser, Chata had also accused Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa of facilitating the rigging. Responding to his allegations, CJP Isa demanded the former commissioner to show evidence to back his allegations against him.

However, now retracting his allegations, Chatha revealed that all of this was done "in coordination with the Imran Khan-founded PTI", who had also given him "lucrative positions in future".

Chatha said that after the 2018 elections, when the PTI formed government in Punjab, he remained posted to senior provincial posts, including provincial secretary to the Government of Punjab.

He said during the PTI's stint in power, he had developed a "cordial personal friendship" with one of the prominent PTI leaders.

The former Rawalpindi commissioner further said that the name of Chief Justice Isa was taken with the aim of creating mistrust in the general public against him. "The chief justice did not have any role in the entire election process."

"However, I was specifically asked by said prominent leader of PTI to name the CJP. He told me that he had been specifically asked by his top leadership to do so. The aims behind naming the CJP were manifold."

Similarly, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja was named with the aim of raising questions on the entire elections process throughout Pakistan, he said.

Moreover, the former commissioner said he addressed the presser on February 17 when PTI had called for countrywide protests against rigging as part of the plan.

"In the end, I feel extremely ashamed and embarrassed for making totally false, concocted, anti-state, and malicious statement in the press conference. This activity caused embarrassment for me as well as for entire bureaucratic fraternity," he added. (ANI)

 
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