Home News Pakistan police crack down on PTI protests over alleged rigging in election | Imran Khan News

Pakistan police crack down on PTI protests over alleged rigging in election | Imran Khan News

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Pakistan police crack down on PTI protests over alleged rigging in election | Imran Khan News

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There were allegations of large-scale rigging in last month’s vote, which the PTI blames on authorities to stop it from coming to power.

Islamabad, Pakistan – The police in Pakistan have been accused of launching a brutal attack on the supporters of the main opposition party and arresting more than 100 of its members during countrywide protests over alleged rigging in last month’s general election.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) had called for the protests on Sunday to demand the restoration of their “stolen mandate” in the February 8 election as well as the immediate release of its leaders, including party founder and former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Last month’s vote saw large-scale allegations of rigging which the PTI says was carried out by the authorities to stop it from coming to power.

Since Khan’s government was removed from power in 2022, PTI has seen an unprecedented crackdown. Khan himself has been in prison since August last year following his conviction in cases related to the leaking of state secrets, corruption and even “unlawful” wedding. He denies the charges, calling them politically motivated and intended to keep him out of active politics.

Meanwhile, the crackdown on his party saw the PTI losing its election symbol days ahead of the polls it was widely favoured to win. The action forced its candidates to contest the polls as independents.

The election day was marred by violence, followed by unusually delayed results, raising fears that the votes were manipulated by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Yet, the PTI-backed candidates emerged as the largest political group in parliament, winning 93 seats. But its rivals – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) with 75 seats and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with 54 – entered into an alliance and formed the government earlier this month.

The PTI says it is opposed to the new government since the votes were rigged and has demanded action against election authorities and the interim government that oversaw the polls.

To push for its demands, the PTI called on its supporters across the country to hit the streets on Sunday.

As PTI members and supporters rallied, raising slogans against the government and calling for its dismissal, the demonstration in the eastern city of Lahore turned violent.

Multiple videos on social media showed police officers attacking the protesters with sticks and shoving people inside police vehicles.

One video showed a bearded man holding a PTI flag being dragged out of his car. A large crowd gathered around his vehicle forcing the police to let the man go. Another video showed a PTI leader being pulled inside a police vehicle as he continued to raise slogans.

In a statement, the PTI said all its arrested leaders should be immediately released and “the shameful series of state repression, brutality and fascism should be abandoned”. The party said it will hold weekly protests until its demands are met.

“A majority of those arrested [on Sunday] have now been released, but the point is the police cannot arrest people carrying out peaceful protests,” PTI leader Shayan Bashir told Al Jazeera.

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