The nomination papers of Baba Jan, a runner-up in the by-polls for GBLA-6, have been rejected. Jan will no longer be able to contest the by-polls in Hunza Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The rejection comes days after chief minister Hafeezur Rehman, who is also PML-N G-B president, visited the valley to inspect development projects. Jan’s candidature wasn’t challenged by a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz member, but PPP leader Zafar Iqbal. The latter contended that Jan had been convicted by a court and could therefore not stand for election.
Jan, a member of the left-wing Awami Workers Party’s federal committee, is seen as a potential threat as he bagged the second highest number of votes after Mir Ghazanfar Ali, who is now governor of the region. It was pointed out Jan was contesting elections despite being behind bars.
While Jan’s papers were turned down for reasons not public yet, at least officially, the nomination papers of 27 others were accepted for scrutiny ahead of by-polls on May 28 in Hunza. The papers accepted included those of former speaker Wazir Baig, Iqbal, Ghazanfar’s son Salim Khan and others.
Earlier this week, AWP Gilgit registered a complaint with the chief election commissioner, saying the ruling party was announcing “fake projects in the constituency to influence the voters”.
To the courts
AWP activist Wajid Ali said the party would approach the court for justice. “This is a conspiracy to keep Jan out,” Ali told The Express Tribune on Saturday. “We will fight it out in a court of law.” Ali has serious reservations over the appointment of the Hunza deputy commissioner as the district returning officer, asking how a civil servant could go against the government’s wishes.
The chief minister, addressing a gathering in Hunza earlier this week, said the purpose of the visit was to oversee development projects and ensure government money is not being wasted like the previous regime.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2016.
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