‘Audio leaks’ support rigging claims by Imran Khan’s party in Pakistan election

‘Audio leaks’ support rigging claims by Imran Khan’s party in Pakistan election

Purported audio recordings involving key leaders from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) have lent support to allegations by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that the February 8 elections were manipulated and their electoral mandate was usurped.

In these recordings, Kamran Tessori, the Governor of Sindh, is purportedly heard expressing concerns over the authenticity of their mandate, stating it was “100 per cent fake”.

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Tessori detailed the MQM-P’s shift in allegiance from PTI to the Pakistan Democratic Alliance in April 2022, a move that was unfavourably received by their electorate.

He reminisced about the 2018 elections when MQM-P secured seven National Assembly seats in Karachi, attributing it to a genuine support base.

“Today (February 8 polls) we didn’t get votes,” the Governor is heard saying.

In the February 8 election, PTI-backed candidates won 92 National Assembly seats, surpassing the tallies of Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Despite this, a coalition was formed between PML-N, PPP, and other parties, sidelining PTI and its affiliates.

In the purported audio, Tessori also voiced his grievances regarding the distribution of power, highlighting that MQM-P was being offered minimal representation in the government.

“What we are getting now is one ministerial position. They even want to take away the governorship and worst of all we have lost the confidence and trust of our voters now,” a report in the newspaper Jang said, quoting Tessori.

Another leaked audio with MQM-P’s Senior Deputy Convener Mustafa Kamal revealed discussions with the PML-N delegation, indicating pressure from PPP to marginalise MQM-P due to the alleged illegitimacy of their mandate.

“We met the PML-N delegation and they told us two things — the PPP is saying that the MQM-P’s mandate is 100 per cent fake and since PML-N and PPP have the required numbers in the parliament to form the government, the MQM-P should be sidelined,” Kamal is heard as saying in the audio.

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Kamal confirmed the claims made in the audio clips but dismissed them as recurrent accusations from political adversaries.

The MQM-P clinched 17 National Assembly seats in Karachi. The PTI claimed that in all the winning seats, the MQM-P candidates were not even in third position.

The PTI has alleged that its 90 National Assembly and over 100 Punjab Assembly seats have been stolen by the establishment and distributed among the PMLN, MQM-P and PPP to form the “fake governments.”

Published By:

Rishabh Sharma

Published On:

Feb 28, 2024

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