Official steps down, Admits manipulation in Pakistan’s Controversy-Marred Polls

International Desk

A high-ranking Pakistan government officer stepped down Saturday after admitting his involvement in manipulating the results of last week’s National Assembly elections, which were marred by accusations of massive electoral fraud and returned no clear winner.
Liaqat Ali Chatha, the commissioner of the Rawalpindi region that comprises five districts, made the shocking revelation amid nationwide protests led by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or PTI, and other political parties.

The PTI claims that the February 8 polls for the lower house of parliament were tampered with to block an outright PTI victory and help candidates fielded by the military-backed rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or PML-N party.

“I am taking responsibility for all the wrongdoing I have committed during this election,” Chatha told a hurriedly convened news conference in his Rawalpindi office.

“We put fake stamps on ballot papers, turning losers into winners and reversing margins of 70,000 votes at times across 13 National Assembly seats,” he added, but not providing evidence to support his claims.

“I apologize to all my returning officers who were working under my supervision and crying when I pushed them to commit a wrongful act against their free will,” Chatha said.

The senior bureaucrat claimed that he had even contemplated suicide because his wrongful act of “stabbing the country in its back” did not let him sleep over the past week.