PTI’s Imran Khan and Incarcerated Leaders Cast Votes by Mail Amidst Election Challenges

Several incarcerated political leaders, including former Prime Minister Imran Khan, exercised their voting rights via postal ballots from jail as Pakistan’s crucial general elections unfolded. Notably, Imran Khan’s wife, Bushra Bibi, did not cast her vote as she was convicted and arrested after the postal voting process concluded. Other political figures, such as former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, and former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, managed to vote by mail. However, the voter turnout from Adiala Jail was limited, constituting only about one percent of the prison’s 7,000 inmates.

Sources revealed that the low turnout was due to the stringent requirement of a valid computerized national identity card (CNIC), and the majority of prisoners lacked the original CNIC. Authorities allowed only those with valid CNICs to cast their votes, leading to fewer than 100 prisoners participating in the electoral process.

It is noteworthy that Bushra Bibi, despite her desire to vote through a postal ballot, could not be accommodated as she was detained after the voting process concluded. Bushra Bibi, aged 49, has been imprisoned at Imran Khan’s Bani Gala residence after an accountability court sentenced the couple to 14 years in jail in the Toshakhana corruption case.

The political landscape in Pakistan is undergoing a crucial phase as the general elections progress, with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leading a social media campaign for its candidates. Imran Khan, who has been in jail since August last year, faces various convictions in multiple cases, with allegations of a lack of a level playing field and accusations against the military establishment. The election body’s decision to strip PTI of its iconic cricket bat symbol and the rejection of nomination papers have added to the complexities of the electoral process.

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