Days of manipulating polls are over: Pak PM

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said the days of manipulating polls were over and the PPP would sweep the forthcoming general election.

Lahore: Setting the stage for the launch of the Pakistan People`s Party`s election campaign, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf today said the days of manipulating polls were over and the PPP would sweep the forthcoming general election.

Addressing a large public gathering in the textile hub of Faisalabad, Ashraf said the PPP always succeeds when there is a free, fair and transparent election.

Referring to a recent Supreme Court verdict that had held two former generals responsible for rigging the 1990 polls, he said this was an eye-opener and showed how election results were manipulated in the past.

The case filed by former air force chief Asghar Khan against the rigging of the 1990 polls has revealed many things and people need to study the matter to be aware of those who try to manipulate election results, he said.

Ashraf further said there were no more fake voters and the 100,000 bogus votes of the constituencies of Faisalabad were a thing of the past.

He highlighted what he described as the achievements of the PPP-led government at the centre, including aid to seven million poor households through the Benazir Income Support Programme and a hike in the salaries of government employees.

The premier spoke from behind a bulletproof glass as large numbers of PPP workers shouted slogans in support of the party and the Bhutto family that has led it since it was founded by former President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

The venue of the gathering was decorated with the PPP`s tri-colour banners and flags and portraits of PPP leaders like Benazir Bhutto, who was killed during the campaign for the last polls on December 27, 2007.

The PPP is expected to formally launch its campaign for the next general election scheduled for early next year during events to mark Benazir Bhutto`s death anniversary.

Her son Bilawal, the nominal head of the PPP, will lead the election campaign though he will not be eligible to contest polls till he turns 25 in September next year.

During his speech, Ashraf said there was a time when everyone believed it would be impossible to get rid of the dictatorial regime of former President Pervez Musharraf.
However, it was President Asif Ali Zardari`s political acumen that led to the ouster of the dictator.

He said Zardari had also handed over all the powers of the President to the parliament.

He also paid tribute to Zardari and Benazir Bhutto for strengthening the party and democracy.

The PPP-led government was set to complete its five-year term as the party believes in the supremacy and strength of democracy, he said.