LAHORE, Pakistan: Nearly 17, 00 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers face criminal charges, police official statement reported on Monday, as the country prepares to go to the polls next week on July 25.
A total of 16, 868 cases were registered in Punjab over the past four days only, the statement said. The latest cases comes days after the outgoing ruling party protested that hundred of their workers were being held detained illegally.
The statement gave no details of which election rules were suspected of having been broken.
PML-N had staged a rally to welcome the party supremo Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz after they were convicted in a corruption reference by an accountability court. Nawaz was handed an eleven-year jail term, while Maryam was given a seven-year jail term. The rally was headed by Nawaz’s brother Shehbaz Sharif against whom a terrorism inquiry has been opened.
The campaign has been riven by that accusations Pakistan’s powerful military is working behind the scenes to skew the contest in favor of ex-cricket hero Imran Khan.
Take a quick look: Terrorism inquiry opened against Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N
The military, which has ruled the nuclear-armed country for almost half its history and ended Sharif’s second stint in power in 1999 in a bloodless coup, has repeatedly denied any interference. Khan has also denied colluding with the military.
A number of national polls suggest there will be a hung parliament with PML-N and Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in a tough competition to form government.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said it was concerned about the legitimacy of the election, saying, “the public perception that all parties have not been given equal freedom to run their election campaigns”.