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Pakistan poll shocker: Rawalpindi Commissioner owns up to 'electoral misconduct', resigns

Rawalpindi: In a stunning turn of events, Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha claimed that the results of the February 8 general elections were 'manipulated' under his supervision, Dawn reported, adding that he tendered his resignation immediately after making the revelation.
Addressing reporters outside the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Chatha said, "I am taking responsibility for all this wrongdoing." He alleged that the chief election commissioner and a top judge of the Supreme Court were "involved in this", according to Dawn.
"We made Independent candidate, who were leading by 70,000-80,000 votes, lose by using fake stamps," he said.
Citing a handwritten letter that it claimed to be in possesion of, Dawn.com reported that the Rawalpindi Commissioner said he was resigning from his "post and service" as he was "deeply involved in serious crime like mega election rigging in 2024.".
Responding to queries on electoral irregularities and delays in the publication of the results, Chatha said "irregularities was a minor word for it".
The commissioner stated further that "stabbing the country in its back" does not let him sleep, according to Dawn.
"I should be punished for the injustice I have done and others who were involved in this should also be punished," he added.
Earlier, addressing a press conference at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Chatha said there was "pressure" on him to the extent that he contemplated suicide in the morning but then resolved to present matters before the public.
"It is my request to the entire bureaucracy to not do anything wrong for all these political people," he added.
Responding to Chatha's claims, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said it "strongly rejected the allegations against the ECP or the chief election commissioner".
In a press release, the electoral watchdog, however, said none of its officials ever issued any instructions to Chatha for a "change in the election results".
"Neither is the commissioner of any division ever appointed as a district returning officer, or a presiding officer nor do they ever play a direct role in the conduct of elections," it stated.
However, the election commission said it will conduct an inquiry into the matter as soon as possible, according to the report.
Meanwhile, caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi ordered an impartial investigation into Chatha's claims and also announced the formation of a high-level inquiry committee.
Punjab's caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir, too, dismissed Chatha's claims, demanding that he furnish evidence to support his allegations.
The PML-N, meanwhile, hit out at Chatha's statements, claiming they were part of a ploy to hog publicity and attention.
Meanwhile, contrary to media reports, Rawalpindi Police clarified that Chatha had not been arrested.
PTI's Khurrum Sher Zaman, on the other hand, commended Chatha's "courage and bravery", hoping for similar disclosures from other officials.

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