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Democracy won't be held hostage: Opposition parties in Pakistan cry foul

Rival parties held a joint-meeting in which they decided to hold protests demanding a 'transparent' re-election.

Democracy won't be held hostage: Opposition parties in Pakistan cry foul
Shehbaz Sharif

At a time when celebrations just won't cease in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf camp led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, opposition parties in Pakistan have outrightly rejected the results of the recent elections and on Friday, demanded a 'transparent' re-election.

Imran is all set to become the new Prime Minister in a country where the political control has largely been with either the Sharifs or the Bhuttos. Supporters have hailed Imran's triumph as a reward of his struggle and sacrifices, and of his promises to fight maladies in the country - including corruption. But the majority mark has remained elusive for PTI - a party rather unwilling to join hands with its rivals.

And the rivals are ready to bite back.

Leaders of MMA, ANP, QWP, NP, PSP and MQM-P attended an all-party meeting organised by Imran's main rival Shehbaz Sharif and his PML-N party in Islamabad. While PML-N secured the second position, it and other parties in attendance in the meeting completely rejected the results. "We do not consider this election to be the mandate of the public, but a theft of people's mandate," Maulana Fazlur Rehman of MMA was quoted as saying by Dawn News.

The parties also joined hands in deciding to stage protests across the country in the coming days to demand re-election. The reason for their anger?

Many of PTI's rival parties have alleged widespread rigging of votes. In prime focus is NA249 Karachi's vote count where, it has been alleged, votes for Shehbaz were transferred to PTI's Faisal Vawda. The party in third position - PPP - has also alleged rigging.

While the Election Commission of Pakistan has denied the charges and PTI has called other parties crying foul as sore losers, these parties currently appear in no mood to relent.