Islamabad Politics Report / Moazzam Raza Tabassam:The PML(N) has announced a comprehensive and effective Anti-Rigging System (ARS) to expose and prevent any attempt at rigging in July 25th elections. This was announced by Chairman of the PML(N) Central Media Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, at a press conference at the PML(N) Party Secretariat today. He also announced that a National Conference of Social Media Activists and Chief Polling Agents would be held on July 19th in Lahore, which would include training program for Chief Polling Agents from all constituencies where PML(N) candidates are contesting.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that apart from the PML(N), some other political parties including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), have publicly complained about attempts at rigging, interference, intimidation, manipulation, political engineering, and harassment plus nepotism and favouritism through abuse of office and undue official influence. He said that all these actions are a blatant violation of the Code of Conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan, as well as all election laws and those officials who indulged in such malpractices are wilfully violating their Oath of Office. Such negative practices undermine free fair and transparent electoral process while also making elections controversial, since a level playing field is not provided.
In this context, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed cited a recurring pattern of behaviour that is targeting the PML(N) leadership through a systematic effort to block PML(N)’s legitimate political activities during the election period, the latest example of which is the slapping of cases, including provisions from the Anti-Terrorism Act, against its leadership and activists during the July 13th mass mobilization rally in Lahore. 130 cases have been registered against 16, 868 PML-N workers and activists.
He said that three times prime minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is facing a trial in Jail which is, unprecedented for political leaders. As per law, he should be tried in open court. Only high profile terrorists are tried in jails.
He unveiled features of this Anti Rigging System (ARS), which is the first time in Pakistan’s political history that a National Political party has formally launched a comprehensive system to counter rigging. Its notable features include linkage between Candidates, Constituencies, Legal Aid Committees, Social Media teams and election observers, backed by a hotline number where complains about rigging will be recorded and addressed in accordance with law. Legal action will also be taken against individuals found involved in rigging in any form, including officials who violate their Oath of Office or the law of the land – they will be publicly named and their illegal activities will be exposed. For the effective implementation of the Anti-Rigging System (ARS), the PML(N) has also decided to convene a National Conference of Social Media Activists and Chief Polling Agents on July 19th, at 10:30 a.m., at the PML(N) Election Headquarters.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed also invited other political parties, civil society organizations, media, Human Rights groups and all the democratic forces to join hands with PML(N) in promoting the cause of countering rigging so that the sanctity of the ballot is preserved and protected.