LAHORE: With all mainstream parties fielding their candidates for Pakistan's general election next month, Canada-based cleric Tahir ul Qadri has announced that his party will boycott the polls to protest against allegedly criminal and corrupt people being allowed to contest elections.
Qadri who is chairman of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) said all his candidates across the country have been directed to withdraw their nomination papers for the July 25 polls to protest against the electoral system.
"Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution have completely been ignored during scrutiny of candidates by the Election Commission of Pakistan. A large number of candidates with serious allegations of money-laundering, mass killings, corruption and human smuggling against them have been cleared to contest the polls," Qadri said.
"Such robbers will be part of the next parliament of Pakistan. Therefore we boycott the elections and continue to strive against this corrupt system," he added.
He claimed that he along with Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had piled pressure on Nawaz Sharif to resign as prime minister after their joint sit-in in Islamabad in 2014 to protest against alleged rigging in the 2013 election.
Without naming Khan, Qadri strongly criticised him for his politics of "electables".
"How come a person (Khan) who was going to build a new Pakistan today considers 'electables' indispensable for winning the election? If winning horses are inevitable, there is no need for staging sit-ins," he said in a reference to the 126-day Islamabad sit-in in 2014.
He said PAT cannot think of becoming a part of the electoral system that "protects" rigging and corruption.
Quoting figures from the past polls, he said the existing electoral system also lacked trust of voters.
Qadri said elections should not be held without punishing all the corrupt.