Former MNA and independent candidate for NA-46 Khyber Agency, Hamidullah Jan Afridi on Monday asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold the constituency’s re-polling in Peshawar under the supervision of Pakistan Army.
Addressing a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club, he insisted re-polling take place under an impartial administration. Army supervision is essential to avoid the kind of vandalism experienced before, added Jan.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced 21 polling stations in NA-46 will be re-polled. The decision was taken after candidates accused each other of rigging and a violent incident took place at the polls on May 11. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate Iqbal Afridi’s son was shot and injured, after which polling was halted.
Jan was backed by the Sepah tribe of the agency. The tribesmen present at the press club maintained free and fair elections can only be held in Peshawar. They said a majority of their voters are already living in different camps around the city.
“To protect sixty thousand tribal people from violence over elections and to maintain a suitable environment at polling stations, re-polling should not be held in the agency but in some settled area,” argued Haji Habib Shah, an elder of the Sepah tribe. In case polling stations are not shifted to Peshawar, tribesmen maintained the political administration has to chalk out a proper plan so the mismanagement of May 11 would be avoided.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2013.