MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir High Court (AJKHC) allowed on Tuesday Masood Khan, a former Pakistani diplomat, to contest the election for the coveted office of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) president.
Khan’s name was not on the original electoral list. Under the rules, only a registered voter can contest elections in the region. The former diplomat had filed a petition in the court for the inclusion of his name on the electoral roll.
A three-judge bench, comprising Justice Azhar Saleem Babar, Justice Tabassum Aftab Alvi and Justice Sadaqat Hussain, in its brief judgment directed Azad Jammu and Kashmir Election Commission to include the name of the petitioner in the electoral roll of the LA-19 Rawalakot-III constituency.
The bench further said that Khan is a permanent resident of Kharik village, Rawalakot and his name was in the voter list of 2011.
The court directed the election body that the petitioner be allowed to participate in the AJK presidential election, scheduled for August 16. Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the name of Khan for the office of the AJK president. If elected, Khan would be the 23rd president of the region.
The PML-N nominee is presently serving as the director-general of the Islamabad-based Institute of Strategic Studies.
The 49 members of the legislative assembly and the six members of Kashmir Council, along with Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Choudhry Barjees Tahir, will elect the new president after the end of the outgoing president’s term.
Khan retired from the Foreign Services of Pakistan in 2005. Before his retirement, Khan served as the Foreign Office spokesman, ambassador to China, and permanent representative to the UN.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2016.
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