ISLAMABAD - Rejecting the results of July 25 elections as blatantly rigged, a multi-party conference on Friday demanded re-election in the country.

The moot, dubbed by the conveners as ‘All Parties Conference’ only had two major players – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and religious parties’ alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Aml (MMA).

Pakistan People’s Party did not attend the APC, held here in the federal capital, apparently because of a pre-called meeting of its central leaders in Karachi.

Interestingly, the PML-N stopped short of backing the extreme step announced by the rest of the APC parties of not taking oath in the assemblies with the aim to bring down the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government before its formation.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said he has sought time for consultation with his party leadership on staying away from the assemblies and would come up with the response in a couple of days.

The conference was attended by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq, Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, Qaumi Watan Party Chairman Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, National Party's Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai and several MMA leaders.

PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ayaz Sadiq, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Chaudhry Tanveer and Khurram Dastagir and Pak Sarzameen Party leaders Mustafa Kamal, Raza Haroon and Waseem Ahmed also participated.

Interestingly, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P) leader Dr Farooq Sattar also showed up at the moot despite reports that his party had agreed to join the PTI-led government in the centre after a contact between PTI leader Jehangir Tareen and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.

In a related development, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said yesterday that his party would not stay out of parliamentary process and would try to convince other political parties to follow the suit as staying away from the parliament would weaken the democratic institutions.

READ MORE: The true north

After the multi-party conference MMA President Fazlur Rehman visibly seemed angry over what he termed stealing of their mandate and said they would not let the democracy become a hostage to establishment.

Fazl also said they would launch a countrywide protest campaign against this highhandedness and tampering with the public mandate.

"The All Parties Conference has completely rejected the July 25, 2018 elections with a consensus," he said. "We do not consider this election to be the mandate of the public but a theft of people's mandate," he added.

In a reference to the PTI, he said the leaders in attendance do not accept "the majority of those claiming to have won the majority".

Without naming PPP, said that some political parties could not attend the moot due to the short notice at which it was called and they would be approaching them in next couple of days to devise a joint protest plan and make the authorities accept their genuine demands.

Answering a question, Fazlur Rehman said they would be forming a committee which would give a final shape to the protest plan.

He vowed to continue the struggle for what he called the survival of democracy and democratic institutions. But, he said, they would not become part of the establishment-tailored parliament and their elected parliamentarians would not take oath of their offices.

Directly hitting at the military establishment, the chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam said that he wanted to make it clear to the forces which considered themselves all-powerful that they have nothing in their control and the real power is with the masses which are standing with them.

Fazl contested at two National Assembly constituencies, including his home constituency, and he lost at both. The head of their allied JI, Sirajul Haq, who was also present on the occasion, was also defeated in his hometown.

JUI-F chief said that the nation had given billions of rupees on holding of free, fair and transparent elections but it was observed that the returning officers stay hostage to the military people.

He said they would not let these ‘political thugs’ [PTI members] enter and pollute the parliament and would block the roads leading to the parliament.

Briefly talking to media, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said that he has sought time for consultation with party leadership on the issue of not taking oath while on rest of the protest plan his party fully endorsed the decisions taken by the MPC.

“We will come back to the alliance within a couple of days after consultation with the party leadership,” he added.


MPC rejects results, demands re-election