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ISLAMABAD: The jailed ex-information minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday declared that he and his group are going to completely boycott the forthcoming general elections, terming the electoral process “fake”.

In a hand-written letter addressed to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which was posted on X by his brother Faisal Chaudhry, Fawad said that “under these circumstances, my group and I announce a complete boycott of these elections”.

However, he did not elaborate his group as he had joined the newly formed Ishtehkame-e-Pakistan (IPP) franchise of Jehangir Tareen after quitting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the wake of May 09, 2023 mayhem.

In his letter, Fawad recalled that the ECP had failed to hold elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab last year after the respective provincial assemblies had been dissolved.

“The aim of elections is to provide the public with the authority to ‘choose’,” he stated, before proceeding to detail recent actions taken against him in the run-up to the February 8 polls.

“First of all, I was arrested in false cases so that I resign from [contesting] the elections myself,” he said. He further stated that his nomination papers were rejected, while the subsequent appeal was also rejected by a Rawalpindi election tribunal.

He added that when his brother Faraz went to Jhelum to submit his nomination papers, “he was arrested and threatened” and also told that “you should not be seen back in Jhelum”.

The former PTI leader said that despite facing “obstructions”, he, his wife, and brother filed their nomination papers. However, the couple’s candidature was rejected by the returning officers for “not declaring two plots in a [housing] society in Jhelum”.

Fawad added that when he challenged the rejection in the relevant high court, he “found out that no such society existed in Jhelum”. “Neither ownership of any land nor any request for a plot or any transaction,” he said.

The politician then claimed that the court set aside the RO’s objections but his candidature was still rejected for a “wrong verification page” and for “not declaring our Easypaisa account”.

Without specifying any political affiliation, he stated, “All of my workers and leaders were threatened. They were arrested and ordered to avoid taking part in the electoral process.”

“When they found out that my brother Faisal Chaudhry’s [nomination] papers have been accepted, they named him as co-accused along with me in a NAB case,” he added.

“I am ready to bear all hardships but it would be inappropriate to involve my workers, friends, family, and voters in further calamities when the results are already prepared,” he said.

Terming it a “waste of time” to demand resignations from ECP officials, Fawad asserted that the ECP had “failed horribly in fulfilling its responsibilities”.

“A government formed through such elections will not only be deprived of a moral but legal mandate as well, and would not at all have the capability to fight the country’s crises and challenges,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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