PESHAWAR / WANA / LANDIKOTAL: A newly elected independent candidate from PK-110 Orakzai has decided to side with the ruling party, it was announced on Friday.
Independent candidate Ghazi Ghazan Jamal, and his father — a former MNA of the tribal district Dr GG Jamal — met with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the premier’s Bani Gala mansion in Islamabad on Friday where they formally announced to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
As a result, the strength of PTI in the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas has risen to seven.
Ghazi had won the July 20 elections in Orakzai by securing 18,448 votes. His nearest competitor, PTI’s Shoaib Hassan had only mustered 14,699 votes.
Earlier on Thursday, PK-107 successful independent candidate Shafique Sher Afridi had announced to join the PTI.
Workers and leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) staged on Friday a protest demonstration in Wana, South Waziristan to protest against the results of the July 20 provincial assembly elections, terming them a ‘selection process’.
The protesters held up banners and placards as they chanted slogans against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over the recently-concluded elections in the newly-merged districts.
They also marched from the Wana bazaar to a security post in the district.
While addressing the gathering the PPP South Waziristan President Amanullah said that they thought that when they learnt the ECP was taking measures for elections in the seven merged districts the views of the public would be respected. However, they claimed that the polls had turned into a nightmare for residents.
“Rigging took place on such a scale that resident of the newly-merged districts was wondering that they had supported and voted for candidates who pulled huge crowds in the political procession but the poll results were completely the opposite,” Amanullah said
He urged the ECP to recount and verify votes through fingerprints in three polling stations, including 60, 62 and 64. He added that by doing so, they will unearth who had been elected and who had been ‘selected’.
“The mandate of the public has been stolen in the newly-merged districts and I appeal to reopen polls in PK-114, or we will challenge the results in a court of law,” the PPP leader warned.
This is not the first time results of the recently concluded elections in the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas have been challenged. Earlier, a candidate from PK-115 had gone to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the ECP over the returning officer’s refusal to conduct a recount in some polling stations. Meanwhile, supporters of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) have been protesting in PK-113 over what they term was poll rigging in how their candidate had been deemed victorious initially but was later deemed as a loser after a recount in two polling stations crowned the PTI candidate the winner by just 34 votes.
Inquiry commission demanded
Elders of the “Respect for ideological Workers Movement” on Friday expressed deep concerns over the defeat of PTI candidates in PK-106 and PK-107 in the recently-held provincial assembly by-elections in the newly-merged districts. And demanded that the provincial and central leadership of the party probe the circumstances surrounding the defeat of PTI candidates.
This was expressed by tribal elders and workers during a news conference here at the Bara Press Club on Friday. The news conference was addressed by Abid Afridi, Dawlat Afridi, Muhammad Zaib Afridi, Nasarullah Afridi, Salam Afridi and other workers of the party.
They demanded that the apex poll body constitute an inquiry commission to look into the matter of defeats in the provincial assembly polls.
Afridi claimed that the main cause for defeat was the alleged double-dealing and dishonesty of MNA Iqbal Afridi from the Khyber Tribal District. Afridi said that during election days, MNA Iqbal’s workers had boycotted the polls, leaving PK-106 candidate Amir Muhammad high and dry.
Instead, they turned to backing an independent candidate through their social media campaigns.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2019.