Protests escalate across Pakistan against poll ‘rigging’


The workers and supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) began protests throughout the nation over the alleged “rigging in the general election” that was held on February 8. PTI members continued their protests against what they perceived to be election tampering in Peshawar by blocking the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway. The protests started on Sunday.

At the Motorway toll plaza, a sizable contingent of PTI employees and supporters assembled, closing the route to all traffic from midnight on Sunday. For the third day in a row, PTI employees have demonstrated against suspected election manipulation in eight provinces and one national assembly seat, Dawn reported.

PTI had originally organised “peaceful” protests against “massive rigging post-polling” in several major cities in the Punjab province of Pakistan; however, it cancelled some of these events hours in advance, claiming concerns about “a false flag operation.”


Still, demonstrations were held in a number of the province’s cities, including Lahore, where police detained dozens of PTI supporters who had shown up for the demonstrations, reported Dawn. According to local PTI leadership, police allegedly visited the homes of seven independent candidates sponsored by the PTI in Rahim Yar Khan after they were elected on February 8, purportedly in an attempt to force them to join the PML-N.

Meanwhile, political parties in Sindh also protested against the alleged rigging. PTI once more staged a demonstration outside ECP Sindh’s headquarters in the city, Jamaat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) blocked road links in the province, and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) staged sit-ins in various parts of Karachi.

JUI-F leaders and workers barricaded the highway that connects Sindh and Balochistan, claiming that the results of the polls on February 8 were rigged to benefit the Pakistan Peoples Party. They threatened to keep up the protest forever. JI organized sit-ins at eight significant junctions in Karachi, calling on the ECP to renounce the “fake results” of the general elections.