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Two leaked audio clips give credence to Imran Khan’s claims of rigged elections in Pakistan

In one of the audio leaks, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori is allegedly heard saying, 'They say that our mandate is 100 per cent fake.'
Last Updated 28 February 2024, 13:28 IST

Lahore/Karachi: Two bombshell audio clips of the main leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leaked on social media on Wednesday have given credence to the claim made by former prime minister Imran Khan's party that February 8 elections were "massively rigged" and its mandate was "stolen."

In one of the audio leaks, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori is allegedly heard saying, “They say that our mandate is 100 per cent fake.”

Tessori is heard telling someone that when he became the Governor, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) was aligned with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. When the Pakistan Democratic Alliance formed the government, the MQM changed its loyalties in April 2022, which didn’t go down well with their voters.

The Governor said, earlier the MQM-P got seven National Assembly seats in Karachi in the 2018 elections as it had its genuine vote bank then. “Today (February 8 polls) we didn't get votes,” he said.

Imran Khan and his PTI party have alleged "Mother of All Rigging" in the polls that, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) saw PTI-backed independent candidates win 92 National Assembly seats, more than the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Khan’s PTI-backed candidates secured 113 seats in the provincial assemblies.

In the absence of a clear majority, the PML-N and the PPP have formed a coalition with four other smaller parties with scores of the independents, which were earlier backed by the PTI, jumping over to PML-N or at least supporting the alliance in a quid pro quo deal for all parties.

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s younger brother Shehbaz Sharif would be the prime minister according to the deal, however, it is not yet clear when the government would take oath.

In the audio leak, the governor also complained that they (a reference to the powerful military establishment and the PML-N) are giving the MQM one ministry in the Centre and also bringing their governor to Sindh. The Pakistan People's Party is pressuring them that the Sindh governor should not be from the MQM-P.

Tessori also said if the MQM-P joins the Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government in the Centre, the party's fate is going to be worse.

“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.

The MQM’s wins have been challenged by opposition parties, including PPP, which won the highest number of seats from Sindh.

Tessori also warns in the audio leak that if the MQM joins any government at the Centre or in Sindh, it will face a lot of backlash and problems from their voters who know the party got fake votes in the recent elections.

In another audio leak, MQM-P Senior Deputy Convener Mustafa Kamal was heard saying, “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.”

Mustafa Kamal confirmed the audio clips, saying there is nothing new about his party’s rivals claiming that their mandate is fake.

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.”

The PTI has called them “mandate thieves” saying according to the original manual result of Form 45, it has won 180 NA and 220 PA seats.

In Punjab province, PML-N's Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, became the first woman chief minister of the province on Monday.

The PTI dubbed her “fake Chief Minister” because she had been selected by the “mandate thieves” after stealing the public mandate in the darkness of the night, it said.

PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said that she (Maryam) suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the people in the general elections but ironically she was imposed on the people of Punjab after she was fraudulently selected through the votes of the fake representatives of the fake House.

Hasan said the family of “certified thieves,” who looted the national kitty for decades mercilessly, would now be remembered as 'mandate thieves' after stealing the people's vote.

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(Published 28 February 2024, 13:28 IST)

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