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Supporters of Imran Khan's party clash with police over Pak election rigging allegations

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PTI Supporters Imran Khan

Lahore/Karachi: Supporters of Pakistan's jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's party have clashed with police in various cities across the country as they staged protests against alleged rigging in the general elections held on February 8.

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In Lahore, supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) gathered outside the Lahore Press Club and the party’s Jail Road office on Saturday to register their protest, the Dawn newspaper reported on Sunday.

The protesters chanted slogans, demanding the restoration of their “stolen mandate”. They called for rectified results based on the vote count as per Form 45, prepared at polling stations under the watch of political parties’ polling agents.

PTI-backed candidate for NA-128, Salman Akram Raja, was arrested and taken to Racecourse Police Station. He was later released, the report said.

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Video clips circulating on social media showed policemen dragging the lawyer as he participated in the protest outside PTI’s office on Jail Road.

Ali Ijaz Buttar, another PTI candidate, was also arrested, along with elderly men, women and a child.

In many cities of Punjab, police arrived at the protest site even before the demonstrators had gathered and arrested several party leaders, candidates, workers and supporters. They dragged elderly men and women. PTI workers and supporters, who had gathered on the call of party founder Imran Khan, chanted slogans and demanded the restoration of their “stolen” mandate, the Dawn report said.

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“If police stop protesters, stay peaceful and stage a sit-in there,” he wrote in a post on X.

In Karachi, hundreds of PTI workers and supporters gathered outside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s Sindh office in the city’s Saddar area.

The protesters chanted slogans against the alleged rigging and demanded the judiciary and state institutions to intervene and fix the “flaws” in the results.

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The charged crowd, including women and children, carried party flags and danced to the tunes of party songs.

They claimed that the mandate of Karachi was “stolen” on Feb 8 and that it could lead to “disastrous repercussions”, like damaging the democracy and affecting the parliamentary system.

The party’s Sindh chapter president, Haleem Adil Sheikh, and other senior leaders addressed the demonstration and vowed to keep raising their voices against the “rigged” elections".

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In Peshawar and other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PTI workers, including the newly elected lawmakers, staged rallies.

The rally in the provincial capital was addressed by PTI provincial president and chief minister-designate Ali Amin Gandapur and other leaders.

In his speech, Gandapur said his party would not seek revenge but would reform institutions responsible for the “political witch-hunt” of his party workers and leaders.

“Reforms are necessary for the bright future of our children,” Gandapur said, without specifying which institutions he aims to reform.

Holding a portrait of the PTI founder Imran Khan, he said the party’s next government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would ensure rights for women and vowed to revive the Sehat Card health insurance programme.

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