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Hafiz Naeem of JI forfeits Sindh Assembly seat over alleged rigging & manipulation

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Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, the chief of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) in Karachi, made a significant decision on Monday by forfeiting the Sindh Assembly seat he had secured after the February 8 elections. His action was prompted by allegations of rigging during the electoral process.

The provisional results, as released by the Election Commission of Pakistan, indicated that Naeem had emerged victorious from the PS-129 constituency (Karachi Central VIII) with a total of 26,296 votes. His closest competitor was Muaz Muqaddam from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), who secured 20,296 votes.

The decision to forfeit the seat followed a day of protests organized by the JI at eight key locations in Karachi, where they expressed their concerns about alleged rigging in the polls. Hafiz Naeem had previously asserted that his party’s candidates, along with independent contenders, had garnered the majority of votes across Karachi’s national and provincial assembly constituencies. However, he believed that the MQM-P was being unfairly imposed on the city.

In a press conference held in Karachi, an irate Hafiz Naeem declared, “A PTI-backed independent candidate has won, and I will not accept this seat.” He further explained that upon scrutinizing the Form 45 documents, his team discovered discrepancies in the reported vote counts. Despite the discrepancy, he chose to forfeit the seat, emphasizing his commitment to conscience and party principles.

Hafiz Naeem also alleged that the PTI-backed independent candidate, Saif Bari, had actually secured more votes than initially reported. According to his team’s calculations, Bari’s votes were reduced from 31,000 to 11,000. The Election Commission of Pakistan, however, officially recorded Bari’s tally as 11,357 votes.

Taking to social media, Hafiz Naeem reiterated his stance, stating, “Therefore, according to my conscience and the moral traditions of my party, I vacate my provincial assembly seat and demand that all seats we won be returned to us.”

During his media address, Hafiz Naeem accused the MQM-P of inflating votes in their favor from the PS-129 constituency. He challenged MQM-P workers to acknowledge the truth and publicly declare, “We have not won.” He emphasized that the city of Karachi stood with the JI, and he considered it an honor to lead his team.

In a powerful statement, he asserted, “This seat of mine is a slap on the election commission’s face. We do not want this seat as charity; we demand our rightful representation.” Despite the challenges, Hafiz Naeem remained steadfast in his commitment to uphold the integrity of the electoral process and the trust placed in his party by the people of Karachi.

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