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Free and fair?: PML-N lawmaker expresses partiality concerns over G-B polls

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By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: A lawmaker representing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Assembly on Monday voiced reservations over the partiality of polls if conducted under the supervision of Chief Minister Mehdi Shah, asking his party’s chief to review the decision.

HunzaNews, June 17th, 2014.

The suggestion that elections in G-B be conducted under the supervision of Shah’s government was floated by PML-N’s regional chief Hafeezur Rahman a day earlier in a bid to turn up pressure to hold the polls sooner.

“Elections under this setup cannot be impartial and I have communicated my concerns to party head Hafeezur Rahman,” said Sultan Ali during the G-B Assembly session conducted by Deputy Speaker Jamil Ahmed.

Mehdi Shah had insisted the elections would be held under his government’s supervision and not before the completion of the government’s tenure. “The elections will not be held before December 10 at any cost. I would also like to add that we will be overseeing the polls.”

The PML-N regional chief had said they would convene an all-parties conference this month to convince parties to hold early elections in October.

Mehdi Shah, in response, criticised the PML-N leader, saying Rahman’s actions were in contrast to what Nawaz Sharif has directed him to do.

Earlier, PML-Quaid’s Mirza Hussain said electoral lists were being prepared, adding holding elections without computerised lists would pave the way for rigging.

About last year’s budget, Hussain said Rs200 million was allocated for mitigation of damages caused by floods but not a single penny was spent on any such scheme. “There are so many projects whose money was reportedly surrendered to the federal government and I want to know why we failed to utilise the funds.”

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s Rahmat Khaliq accused the bureaucracy of bypassing legislators in making the budget and asked the chief minister to tighten the noose around them to comply with the orders of elected representatives. “We would be forced to beg the bureaucracy to get our development projects approved in the budget if action is not taken,” he added.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s Abdul Hameed of Astore Valley expressed disappointment over the absence of ministers in the house and said lack of interest was creating hurdles for the members. “We can’t go to our constituencies as we have not been able to serve them in our tenure.”

Express Tribune

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