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Hunza by-polls: G-B EC chief asked to stop pre-poll rigging

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GILGIT: The central leadership of Awami Workers Party (AWP) has asked Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Syed Tahir Ali Shah to prevent pre-poll rigging in the by-elections for GBLA-6, Hunza. The request was made through a letter sent to Shah on Sunday.

According to a copy of the letter available with The Express Tribune, AWP President Abid Hassan Minto drew attention towards pre-poll rigging by PML-N in the by-elections. He asked the CEC to adopt a firm stance against this and provide a fair chance to AWP’s candidate Baba Jan in the upcoming by-polls.

“In his recent visit to G-B, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced special financial packages amounting to billions of rupees to influence the by-elections,” the letter read. “The PM has visited this region only when elections are [around the corner].”

Minto, who is also a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, said CEC had the power to nullify the projects announced by the prime minister. He added this can be done under Article 3(5) and 6 of the Election Commission Order, 2002 and Section 103(C) of Representation of People Act, 1976.

The by-polls in GBLA-6 constituency will be held on May 28. The seat fell vacant after Mir Ghazanfar Ali was made governor of G-B. PML-N had awarded ticket to Saleem Khan, who is the governor’s son. The leader of AWP, Baba Jan is also contesting the polls from the prison. His supporters had been vying for the constituency.

Sub judice

G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman, who is also president of PML-N in the region, reached Hunza and addressed a rally in Nasirabad, the hometown of Baba Jan.

In his address, Rehman criticised Pakistan Peoples Party for registering cases against Jan. He said if he had powers, he would have released Jan so he could run his election campaign. “But the case is sub judice and I can’t ask for his release,” Rehman added

Faizullah Farak, spokesperson of the G-B government, told journalists Rehman visited Hunza as the president of PML-N and not in the capacity of chief minister.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2016.

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