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Caretaker PM Kakar says level playing ground enabled Imran Khan-backed candidates to emerge as largest winning group

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NewsDrum Desk
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Islamabad, Feb 12 (PTI) Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday said independents backed by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan emerged as the single largest group in the general elections only because his government provided “a level playing field” to all parties.

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In the run-up to Thursday’s polling day, Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party had often repeated the allegation that the powerful establishment and the caretaker government had not been providing a level playing field to all parties and that certain parties and their leaders were given preferential treatment.

The National Assembly results showed that independents, backed by PTI won 101 seats, another former prime minister Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) got 75 seats, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari grabbed 54 and the MQM-P secured 17 seats apart from others bagging eight seats.

“A large number of independent candidates backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf emerged as the largest single group on the national and provincial assemblies,” Kakar was quoted as saying by the state-owned news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).

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Kakar stressed that allegations of rigging were generated through social media, which were based upon misconceptions and contrary to the ground realities, and said that “throughout the country’s democratic history, people had always questioned the electoral process.” “Such results indicated the transparency and non-interference by any quarters,” he emphasised while addressing a press conference at the PM House.

Kakar agreed that there might be shortcomings or other minor issues, but “by and large, the elections were held in a manner in which the entire nation and the law enforcement agencies deserved kudos despite various security challenges.” Claiming that PTI got results “the party never dreamt of during 2018,” he said, “The loyalists of jailed PTI leaders emerged as returned candidates in the general elections, but no one is appreciating that aspect of the neutrality of the caretaker government.” Responding to a query, Kakar maintained that over 60 million voters exercised their constitutional right to elect their favourite candidates under “a pressure-free environment.” “The elections in Pakistan were held in a free and fair manner and there was no institutional mechanism to favour any group,” Kakar stressed.

The caretaker prime minister also agreed with the need for electronic voting machines (EVMs) and said that according to his personal view, the political parties should hold threadbare discussions in the next parliament over the issue and legislate, if required, so that the new electoral system could be more acceptable to all. PTI NPK AKJ SCY

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