Protest against alleged rigging continue in Battagram on 3rd consecutive day


BATTAGRAM, July 29 (TNS): Protest and sit-ins against alleged rigging in the election for a provincial assembly seat continued in the Battagram district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday despite an overnight downpour.

The main Karakoram highway at Kacheri Chowk remained blocked for traffic, just as it has been since Thursday when the protesters took the streets.

The protesters, supporters of the Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party (PRHP), chanted slogans against the administration and said they would not accept “rigged elections and manipulated results of polling stations in PK-29 constituency”.

Branding the election as an “RO selection”, they said that their protest and sit-in would continue till the acceptance of their demands and that they will use every possible option to get justice.

PRHP candidate for the seat, Atta Muhammad, who is among the protesters, claims that he enjoyed a lead of more than 4,000 votes by the time the first 128 of 149 polling stations’ results had come out. However, results stopped coming in for two hours after that, he claimed, after which the PTI candidate was declared the winner.

Atta Muhammad polled a total of 17,142 votes, while the PTI’s Taj Muhammad received 20,177. The total votes polled in the constituency were 56,485, out of which 2,201 (3.9 per cent) were rejected.

The protesters claim to possess video evidence of rigging taking place, and have claimed that election officials had tried to snatch their phones but did not succeed. It should be mentioned that mobile phones were categorically not allowed inside polling stations by the Election Commission of Pakistan.