Former Rawalpindi commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha speaks during a press conference, on February 17, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News

“I apologise to entire bureaucratic circles of country whose reputation has been seriously dented by my actions,” he says

Former Rawalpindi commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha speaks during a press conference, on February 17, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News

Withdrawing all his allegations related to rigging in the elections, former Rawalpindi commissioner Liaqat Ali Chatha said he was “extremely ashamed, embarrassed”, and claimed that he made the move in coordination with a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader.

“| take full responsibility for my actions and surrender myself before the authorities for any kind of legal action,” Chatha said in a statement to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

In a dramatic development last Saturday, Chatha had tendered his resignation, which he said was out of “guilty conscience” for abetting large-scale electoral rigging in the garrison city, further raising the political mercury in the country.

The commissioner, in the rare press conference, took responsibility for the “rigging” that he claimed took place in Rawalpindi Division. “We converted the losers into winners with 50,000 votes margin,” he stated.

In response to his allegations, the PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and other political parties — most of whom had already rejected the election results — demanded an investigation into the matter.

However, retracting his allegations, Chatha revealed that all of this was done in coordination with the Imran Khan-founded PTI, who had also given him “lucrative positions for me in future”.

In his statement, Chatha, who has been a civil servant for 32 years, said that after the 2018 elections, when the PTI formed government in Punjab, he remained posted to senior provincial posts, including provincial secretary to the Government of Punjab.

“The position of Secretary is among the top posts in the provincial government. While posted as Provincial Secretary, I got opportunities to develop relationships with senior and prominent political figures of PTI.”

Chatha said during the PTI’s stint in power, he had developed a cordial personal friendship with one of the prominent PTI leaders.

He said that after the incident of May 9, 2023, as with other leadership of PTI, the aforementioned prominent leader also absconded from courts, was declared as a proclaimed offender (PO), and has been hiding.

“Throughout this time, I had direct contact with him and I kept on discreetly helping him on various issues. Consequently, my relationship with said prominent PTI leader evolved into a very close friendship based on a high-level of trust.”

The statement mentioned that Chatha, after the February 8 elections, had “secretly and discreetly travelled to Lahore” to meet the PTI leader on Feb 11.

“It was in this meeting, that he made an offer to me that if I play a role for supporting the PTI’s ongoing narrative of rigging in elections and maligning state institutions, he would ensure a lucrative position for me in future.”

Chatha said that the PTI leader told him that the entire planning had been formulated after consultation and approval of the senior leadership of the PTI.

More to follow…

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