ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) on Thursday blamed that it is against the mandate of powerful establishment that it was active in election process and tries to declare Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) a winner in upcoming general election on July 25. The meddling of forces in the election process was very dangerous and against the spirit of democracy, said PPP stalwart Mian Raza Rabbani while speaking on a point of order in senate. In some part of the country, he said the army official called on District Returning Officer (DRO) for holding a meeting relating to election, but who empowered them to hold such meeting,he asked. Both -the caretaker government and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) have to clarify it, he added. On the other hand, the army spokesperson claimed that forces have no role in conducting election, Rabbani said. He alleged that “meddling” was being carried out in the run-up to the elections, making the polls controversial even before they are held on July 25 as scheduled. Rabbani raised doubts over the transparency of the upcoming polls and declared that the Election Commission of Pakistan had failed in its constitutional role to ensure free, fair and transparent elections. The senator pointed out that the ECP secretary had said in the past that “external forces” were not allowing for successful elections, before the official distanced himself from his statement. His statement was not the only one; the caretaker interior minister also mentioned that an “external hand” did not want elections to be held on time in the country. Efforts were being made to postpone the elections, Rabbani remarked. A certain political party asked for extension in polling time and the ECP agreed to extend the polling time – which had raised doubts over the process, he continued. Other political parties were not consulted before granting of extension in the polling hours, Rabbani added. “The court allowed Pervez Musharraf to contest polls,” he said. “How can a person convicted under Article 6 be allowed to contest polls? Musharraf did not return himself, which is why the court had to take its decision back.” Rabbani also claimed that “PPP candidates are being pressured into either changing parties or withdraw their candidatures”. “Those who are exerting this pressure have been named also,” he added. “Where is the defence minister? He should come and explain this pressure.” Rabbani also criticized the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), saying: “NAB can only see two parties. The third one is invisible to it. The lotas (turncoats) who switched allegiance and joined a different party, are they above blame now? Why are they not being held accountable?” In May, ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob had warned that the upcoming elections could be sabotaged – remarks that Rabbani now wants an explanation on. “The ECP secretary commented about meddling in elections,” Rabbani said. “It is necessary to know what made him retract that statement.” Opposition leader in Senate Sherry Rehman, who had a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan today, echoed Rabbani’s sentiments. “Our party is being stopped from running its election campaign,” she said. “First grade magisterial powers were being given to people other than the presiding officers. “Some parties are being rewarded while a few were being targeted. “Proscribed organisations’ candidates were being brought to the forefront, while our candidates are being disqualified.” Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) Senator Usman Kakar termed the general election between the establishment and against all political parties. The election was going on to be held like martial law like situation where some parties were confronting various problems while PTI was given open hand. He also blamed that all institutions were taking dictation from GHQ in election related matters. He suggested that all parties conference should be called on other wise after election then everyone will made hue and cry but then everything would be over. Speaking on the occasion, the PTI Senator Shibli Faraz said that the two big political parties who made hue and cry, they provide these institutions, weak economy, worst law and order situation and many more. These two parties destroy the country where a matric pass person was appoints and MD Pakistan State Oil. Now, that new Pakistan was going to create, therefore, they feel uneasiness. However, he agreed that level playing field, security should be provided to everyone. Those, who spoke on the occasion, include Sherry Rehman, Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, Mian Raza Rabbani, Moula Bux Chandio, Usman Khan Kakar, Shibli Faraz, Sitara Ayaz, Rehman Malik, and Musaddik Malik. Meanwhile the senate deferred an adjournment motion regarding the recent increase in prices of petroleum products by the caretaker government which will further burden the poor masses, due to non-availability of the movers Senators Sirajul Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed. During the course of proceeding, the senate also laid a report of standing committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, on the Bill to repeal the West Pakistan Juvenile Smoking Ordinance, 1959, to the extent of Islamabad Capital Territory (The West Pakistan Juvenile Smoking (Repeal) Bill, 2018). Published in Daily Times, July 13th 2018.