Updated February 18th, 2024 at 15:08 IST

Rawalpindi Commissioner Admits 'Manipulating' Results of Pakistan Elections, Resigns From Office

Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha claimed that the February 8 polls in Pakistan were “manipulated” under his watch and tendered his resignation.

Reported by: Bhagyasree Sengupta
Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha | Image:X - @AdeelMOfficial
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Rawalpindi – In a bombshell revelation, Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha claimed that the February 8 polls in Pakistan were “manipulated” under his watch and tendered his resignation. While speaking to the reporters outside the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, the Pakistani official stated that he is “taking responsibility” for all the wrongdoings, Dawn reported. Shortly after the shocking development, Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) slammed the Election Commission of Pakistan and demanded the resignation of the chief election commissioner (CEC) and the country's chief justice. 

“We made independent candidates — who had leads of 70,000-80,000 votes — lose by putting on fake stamps,” Chatha told the media on Saturday. He went on to allege that the chief election commissioner and a top judge of the Supreme Court were “involved in this” ordeal. After speaking to the media, the Pindi official tendered his resignation in a handwritten letter. In the letter which was obtained by Dawn, Chatha said that he was “deeply involved in serious crime like mega election rigging 2024”. As per the reports, the letter was addressed to Punjab Governor Haji Ghulam Ali, interim provincial chief minister Mohsin Naqvi and the provincial chief secretary. The commission insisted that he had to reveal the truth, since “stabbing the country in its back” did not let him sleep. “I should be punished for the injustice I have done and others who were involved in this injustice should also be punished,” he added.

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ECP rejects the allegations

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) “strongly rejected” the allegations made by Chatha. In a press release, the electoral watchdog made it clear that none of its officials ever issued any sort of instruction to Chatha for a “change in the election results”. “Neither is the commissioner of any division ever appointed as a district returning officer, returning office or a presiding officer nor do they ever play a direct role in the conduct of elections,” the statement released by the body on Saturday reads. “However, the election commission will conduct an inquiry into the matter as soon as possible," ECP furthered. 

Meanwhile, Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi ordered an “impartial probe” into the allegations that were levelled by Chatha. In light of this, the Punjab CM stated that it has directed a “high-level committee" to conduct an inquiry into the matter. “An independent inquiry of the allegations will be held,” CM Naqvi asserted, insisting that all facts will be brought forward, Dawn reported. 

PTI demands ECP and CJP's resignation

Shortly after the news was made public, Imran Khan's PTI demanded that CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja and Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa should tender their resignations in the aftermath of the revelations. The party spokesperson insisted that the Rawalpindi commissioner's admission endorsed PTI's stance on how the public mandate was stolen and demanded the electoral watchdog to promptly return PTI's 86 stolen seats, Dawn reported. Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that the statements made by the Rawalpindi commissioner were a “tactic to gain cheap popularity”.

 “Such a cheeky move by the Rawalpindi Commissioner a few days before his retirement is a cheap publicity tactic. The person has alleged that the PML-N candidates were pressured to give a lead of 70, 70,000, while the facts are completely different from his accusation. Defeated the opponent by a margin,” the party wrote on X, formally known as Twitter. 

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Published February 18th, 2024 at 15:08 IST