GILGIT: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Fida Nashad’s assertions of unopposed victory in the upcoming by-elections in Skardu fell flat on Wednesday.
Fida Nashad on Tuesday claimed he would be elected unopposed since All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) candidate Syed Abbas had withdrawn his nomination papers. He further claimed Shiekh Hasan Jafary, a cleric from Skardu, had convinced Abbas to withdraw in Nashad’s favour.
No other party besides APML fielded candidates for the by-elections scheduled to be held next month. The seat up for re-election, Skardu-3, belonged to former law minister Wazir Shakeel who vacated it to become a judge of Gilgit’s chief court.
“Winning the election wasn’t a big issue. I am happy because I was elected unopposed and I am thankful to Sheikh Hasan for this,” Nashad said in a press conference at Skardu on Tuesday.
His joy, however, proved to be short lived. A press note issued by APML in Skardu on Wednesday denied Abbas has withdrawn his nomination papers. The last day for withdrawal of papers was Tuesday. “Our candidate will contest the election,” said the press release, terming the earlier news baseless.
Skardu Deputy Commissioner Raja Fazal Khaliq also denied being informed about the withdrawal of the other candidate. “The Election Commission of Pakistan has not officially received any application from any candidate pulling out of the race,” he told The Express Tribune.
Nashad recently joined the PML-N after parting ways with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q). During PML-Q’s tenure in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), Nashad was the chief executive – a post renamed as chief minister by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government. Previously, he had also been an active member of the PPP and the banned Tehreek-e-Jafaria.
However, Nashad remained out of reach since his self-announced victory.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2013.
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