Politico finds no difference in “rigging” during 2018 and 2024 nationwide polls

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses a press conference in Peshawar on February 27, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News
  • JUI-F chief rejects any threat to country’s parliamentary system.
  • “PTI should be given right to form government if it has majority”.
  • “JUI-F not to vote in presidential elections nor be part of govt”.

As the 2024 nationwide election results drew criticism from different political parties, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) supremo Maulana Fazlur Rehman continued picking apart the February 8 polls besides predicting that the “system would collapse” as “establishment wants government of their choice.”

“Establishment wants assemblies and people in them of their choice,” the political leader alleged while addressing a press conference alongside other party leaders in Peshawar on Tuesday.

“We received information before the elections that it has been decided to reduce the JUI-F’s inclusion [in the assemblies]. Different styles of rigging occurred in every polling station during the polls.”

“If they think there was no rigging in the polls, then the May 9 narrative is apparently buried. They cannot run the country and this system will collapse. Those who are sticking to the system will be crying in the coming days,” Fazl said.

The politico found no difference in “rigging” the 2018 and the 2024 general polls. He was of the view that a public representative should not be a “representative of the establishment.”

He, however, rejected any threat to the continuity of the country’s parliamentary system.

After ‘election rigging’ claims brought the political arch-rivals closer, the politico-religious party’s chief said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) should be given the right to form its government if its candidates won the majority of seats in the recent polls.

Without naming PTI founder Imran Khan who wrote a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to force Islamabad for an election audit, Fazl also asked political stakeholders to refrain from inviting foreign institutions to interfere in the internal affairs of the country.

He signalled that JUI-F has always kept the doors open for holding dialogues if any party was serious about addressing its reservations. Fazl said that his party had also given respect to its arch-rival PTI’s delegation as per political traditions.

The cleric, who headed the multi-party alliance — Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) which ousted the former premier Khan from his office in 2022 via parliamentary vote, criticised the PTI founder’s arrest. He said that he had never felt happiness over any politician’s detention.

The JUI-F supremo announced that his party will stay away from the presidential elections, as well as forthcoming polls for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s chief minister, and the opposition leader.

He reiterated that the JUI-F — the party which was a strong political ally of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party in the previous government — would not be part of any government in the Centre and provinces.

To a question, the senior politician replied that they do not consider governorship as a political portfolio, however, his party has not mulled over accepting such an offer so far.

As per preliminary results of the February 8 nationwide polls, the Fazl-led party won five National Assembly (NA), and 18 provincial assembly (PA) seats, collectively, in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

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