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ECP defers by election at Ghotki’s NA-205 to July 23

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has deferred by election at NA-205-Ghotki from scheduled date of July 18 to 23 July, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

The ECP has delayed the election for five days due to a case challenging candidacy of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate Sardar Muhammad Bux Khan Mahar in Sindh High Court.

The high court has also ordered the election authority to halt printing of the ballot papers till July 16.

The SHC however in its verdict today turned down the petition seeking disqualification of PPP candidate Muhammad Bux Khan Mahar.

The election commission in a statement earlier said, “It is not possible to print ballot papers within one day after the announcement of a verdict by SHC on July 16.

NA-205-Ghotki seat fell vacant due to the death of Sardar Ali Muhammad Mahar on May 21 due to cardiac arrest.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Saturday requested Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa to ensure free, fair and transparent by-election on National Assembly seat (NA-205) in Ghotki as per the schedule of the ECP.

PPP Secretary-General Farhatullah Babar wrote a letter to the chief justice, stating that ECP announced by-poll on NA-205 on June 16, after which various aspirants, including the candidate and covering candidate of the PPP, filed their nomination papers.

A final list of aspirants vying for the seat was published after due process, including the nomination papers’ scrutiny.

Babar said an appeal challenging the candidature of PPP’s Sardar Muhammad Bux Mahar was filed before an election tribunal but was dismissed.

He said the PPP candidate’s papers were then challenged in the high court that reserved a verdict after hearing arguments and is scheduled to pronounce it on July 16 when campaigning for the by-poll is to end.

“Be that as it may, in case the judgment is announced against our candidate, he will not have sufficient time to approach the Supreme Court and would thus be barred from contesting elections. As a result, not only a candidate but a political party would effectively be disenfranchised,” he apprehended.

Besides, the PPP leader alleged there has been a lot of pressure on the local administration and politicians since the acceptance of our candidate’s nomination.

“Two mukhtiarkars of Ghotki were abducted to forcefully obtain documents against our candidate. In this regard, FIRs have been registered with the police stations concerned,” he claimed.

“Mr. Inam Dharejo who was Chairman of Anti-Corruption Establishment and a senior BPS-21 officer was unilaterally recalled by the federal government because he happened to be the brother of one of covering candidates.”

“Our opponents are using all executive powers as local government office holders. This issue has been highlighted through our letter dated 04.07.2019 written to the ECP. However, no response in respect of the same can be seen, thus far.”

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