Re-elections for NA-19, Haripur constituency will be held on August 16, officials at the District Election Commissioner’s office told The Express Tribune.
This will be the second election in this constituency over the last 17 months. According to insiders, ECP issued the new election schedule on Saturday. The name of former MNA and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Omar Ayub Khan has been formally removed from the list of MNAs following the apex court’s decision.
Let the polls begin
According to a copy of the schedule available with The Express Tribune, the candidates are expected to file their nomination papers on July 5 and July 6. The scrutiny of papers will begin on July 8 and July 9 while any objections will be accepted on July 11.
Regional Election Commissioner Waliur Rehman will serve as district returning officer while Muhammad Naeem will serve as assistant returning officer during the election.
Past and present
The seat fell vacant when a three-member bench of the Supreme Court released Ayub from his duties after a review petition was filed against him by his opponent, PTI former MNA Dr Raja Amir Zaman.
The PTI leader had won the election on May 11, 2013. However, he lost to Ayub when the election tribunal ordered re-polling in seven polling stations of the constituency.
In the running?
On Saturday, the PML-N leader said he decided not to participate in re-polls as his mother was sick. As a result, PML-N is likely to field three candidates against PTI leader, Raja Amir Zaman.
According to insiders, former speaker provincial assembly Habibullah Khan Tareen, former provincial minister for higher education Qazi Muhammad Asad Khan and PML-N provincial president Pir Sabir Shah are among these candidates.
However, Qazi Muhammad Asad and Tareen have reportedly refused to contest. Insiders believe Shah is also unwilling to contest due to multiple reasons. It is believed he is on a collision course with his party’s central leadership for ignoring him during the Senate elections and issuing a party ticket to PML-N leader General (retd) Salahuddin Tirmizi from Mansehra.
Shah also lost his provincial assembly seat PK-52, Haripur-IV to PTI’s Faisal Zaman for the second time during the previous election. Faisal Zaman defeated Pir Sabir Shah in 2002 and 2013. Babar Nawaz Khan, son of former slain provincial minister Akhtar Nawaz Khan could also contest from NA-19 Haripur as his close aides have been trying to persuade him to jump into the arena.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2015.