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LAHORE: The PML-N and PPP have swapped allegations of vote buying while the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) awaits the Punjab government’s report on the alleged incident that took place in Lahore on Saturday.
Tensions between both the mainstream parties intensified when the PML-N candidate for NA-127 Attaullah Tarar, who is facing PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in the Lahore constituency, stormed PPP’s election office and caught three people allegedly collecting CNICs of the voters after paying them cash and taking oath of allegiance from them.
Important press conference in #Lahore on the underhanded and illegal tactics being used by PMLN to intimidate voters, candidates, and PPP workers at 1:05pm. The Pakistan Peoples Party has faced dictators before, the PMLN is misguided in believing they can intimidate us.…
— Aseefa B Zardari (@AseefaBZ) February 4, 2024
The PML-N claimed to have turned over three PPP supporters to the Kot Lakhpat police, but the PPP said that “the PML-N goons,” led by Mr. Tarar, had abducted its employees.
Mr Tarar uploaded to the social media video clips of his ‘raid’ on the PPP office and also handed them over to the ECP as evidence while the PPP also uploaded a clip in which some masked men were seen buying votes at an election office of PML-N.
پیپلز پارٹی والے NA 127 میں ووٹوں کی خرید و فروخت کرتے رنگے ہاتھوں پکڑے گئے، لوگوں سے ووٹ کے لیے قرآن پاک اور مقدس کتابوں پر حلف لیے جا رہے تھے ، بلاول صاحب لاہور کا امن خراب کرنے آئے ہیں، مکمل قانونی کارروائی کروائیں گے۔ موقع پر میڈیا لے کر پہنچا اور پکڑ لیا pic.twitter.com/cATZ468s7i
— Attaullah Tarar (@TararAttaullah) February 3, 2024
PPP’s electoral cell coordinator In a letter to the ECP, Senator Taj Haider also requested that Mr. Tarar be disqualified from the polls due to his “hooliganism” in the party headquarters. In the letter, it was claimed that Mr. Tarar, escorted by “over 300 goons,” broke into the Lahore office of PPP candidate from PP-160, Mian Misbahur Rehman, when he was conducting campaign operations and organizing poll workers for a forthcoming training session.
The letter questioned why Mr. Tarar and his troops were receiving assistance from Punjab Police officers during the incursion.
The PPP also alleged that it was not an isolated incident as its candidates were being harassed and intimidated across Punjab and police were complicit in it.
At two separate press conferences, PPP leaders, including Shehla Reza, Sehar Kamran, Zulfikar Ali Bader, Barrister Amir Hassan and Aslam Gill, asked under what law Mr Tarar entered their party office and kidnapped three PPP workers.
They alleged that Tarar and allies also took away precious cell phones and some jewellery from there. It was a robbery at gunpoint, they added.