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Elections in Quetta and Baltistan, Some Questions for the LHC – by Humza Ikram

In last 48 hours two general elections were held, First one took place in Gilgit -Balistan and the other one took place in Quetta. Although official election resulta are not announced yet, unconfirmed reports suggest that in both places PPP candidates have won.

The significance of these results is far greater than who won the election (despite the anti-PPP campaign by Geo TV), the important thing to note is that, unlike Punjab, at both places provincial governments did not plant obstacles in front of the election commission’s decision to hold election on the dates which  commission decided.  Even though election commission decided to hold election  during month of Muharam .  Both the cities have a history of ethnic / sectarian violence and along with Jhang (Punjab), they are considered to be the most sensitive places during muharam.

In contrast, the provincial government of Punjab decided to take provincial election commission announcement of holding election in November head on, the ugly dispute reached  the LHC, where the court sided with Punjab government and announced to delay the elction until indefinite time period. Thus, the court gave the power to the provincial government to decide when the time is right to conduct the election, it in effect undermines the role of the election commission.

Today’s successful and peaceful elections in Quetta and Gilgit are  an eye opener for  judiciary.  I hope in future,  judiciary will not   pass judgments  on subjects which they don’t have any  expertise like judging the security situation in Lahore and Rawalpindi .Today’s   election has  left many painful questions for the LHC . If a relatively under-resourced civilian administration of Quetta and Skardu  can conduct peaceful elections in the most vulnerable conditions and specially during Muharam, why is the   Punjab administration helpless in  conducting  election on places just 5 km away from the GHQ at Rawalpindi and Lahore.

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Humza Ikram

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  • News update:

    QUETTA: Pakistan People’s Party retained its provincial assembly seat from Quetta city in a by-election held on Wednesday.

    The seat, PB-I Quetta-1, fell vacant after the assassination of education minister Shafiq Ahmed Khan in October.

    The PPP candidate, Tahir Mehmood Khan, younger brother of the slain minister, won the seat by securing 6,357 votes. His opponent, Syed Amanullah Shadezai of the Jamaat-i-Islami polled only 387 votes.

    Tahir Mehmood enjoyed the support of both groups of PML, Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party, JUI-F, ANP and a number of political groups.

    Mr Shadezai was the joint candidate of the Jamaat-i-Islami, JWP (Talal), Tehreek-i-Insaaf and the JUI (Ideological).

    On Tuesday, Mr Shadezai had moved the High Court, seeking postponement of the election, citing the security concerns because of Muharram, but the court dismissed the petition.

    Polling started at 8am in 54 polling stations and continued till 5 pm without any break.
    The government had declared 17 polling stations sensitive but no untoward incident was reported from anywhere.

    According to Provincial Election Commissioner Mehboob Anwar, the voter turnout was only 10 per cent, with 6,883 of the 65,050 voters having cast their votes.

    Meanwhile, Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamhoori Watan Party, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Ideological) and Tehrik Insaaf have alleged electoral rigging.

    A joint statement, issued by Dr Ibrahim, acting provincial Amir of the JI, Nawabzada Talal Bugti, president of the JWP, Hafiz Fazal Barach, secretary general of JUI-Ideological, and Qazi Shahid provincial organiser of the TI, criticised the PML-N, PML-Q, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party for backing the PPP candidate.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/06-ppp-candidate-wins-in-quetta-by-election-rs-06

  • Shame on that person person who gave the Judgment against the election in lahore and pindi, in my opinion the LHC chief judge is servant to Nawaz sharif and shahbaz sharif and he got some banefits, both CHief Justice and LHC Chief gave verdicts in favor of PML coz both are Punjabis and both are against sindhis. both are judges cum politicans,
    write down in ur book after retirement both will join PML N.

  • If one is to believe in the Poll and Survey Mafia, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan are two of the most popular leaders in Pakistan whereas PPP and its allies such as ANP, JUI-F have their popularity graph on the decline.

    However, it seems that the people of Pakistan do not reflect the ‘sentiments’ and ‘wishes’ of the poll engineers. After the PPP’s victory in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Quetta elections, JUI-F has won bye elections in Mansehra and ANP (supported by PPP) has won in Swat.

    Shame on Ijaz Gilani (Jamaatia) of Gallup Pakistan, and his propagandists including but not limited to Haroon-ur-Rasheed, Ansar Abbasi, Dr Shahid Masood and Irfan Siddiqui.

    …..

    ANP’s Rehmat Ali wins Swat by-polls

    MINGORA: Rehmat Ali Khan, the joint candidate of the ruling alliance of the Awami National Party and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), won the by-elections for the Swat constituency PF-83 by a big margin on Thursday, and retained the seat that had fallen vacant due to the demise of his brother.

    According to unofficial results, the ANP candidate secured 6,952 votes, while Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) Jalat Khan was the runner-up with 3,304 votes. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Sher Khan obtained 3,208 votes, and former NWFP minister and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) candidate Hussain Ahmed Kanju polled 2,820 votes.

    The polling was held peacefully and the voters exercised the right of franchise in a fair and transparent manner in the constituency that has been the epicentre of the Taliban insurgency during the last two years.

    The seat had fallen vacant after ANP Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Shamsher Ali Khan was killed in a suicide attack at Kabal tehsil.

    The polling was held amid tight security, with police deployed at all the entry and exit points of the constituency. Authorities did not allow voters to cover themselves up with a “shawl” for security purposes.

    The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had set up 80 polling stations for the voters. There are a total of 114, 658 registered voters in PF-83, out of which 69,223 are male voters and 45,434 females. Women were only able to cast votes at two of the 39 polling stations for women. ghulam farooq/app
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\01\29\story_29-1-2010_pg7_2

    ….

    JUI-F wins NA’s Mansehra seat
    By Nisar Ahmad Khan
    Saturday, 30 Jan, 2010

    MANSEHRA: Laiq Khan of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F won the NA-21 (Mansehra-II) seat by securing 36,622 votes, according to unofficial results announced by the Election Commission on Friday.

    The seat fell vacant after the death of PML-N lawmaker Faiz Mohammad Khan and elections were held on Thursday.

    According to Returning Officer Khalid Waheed, PML-Q’s Zargul Khan polled 31,762 votes, Tahir Ali of PML-N 29,879 and Nawabzada Salauddeen Saeed of PPP 28,230 votes.

    He said that although the voter turnout was less than in the 2008 general elections, it was satisfactory for a by-election.

    Women had not cast their vote in tribal areas in and around Kala Dhaka, he said, adding that this had been the norm in the region for a long time. The polling, he said, was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the constituency.

    PML-Q candidate Zargul Khan had alleged on Thursday that polls were being rigged and said that voting could not be held at 25 women’s polling stations because the election staff had not turned up. “More than 30,000 women were deprived of the right to cast their votes,” he said

    He urged the Election Commission to order a re-poll to enable women of tribal areas to cast their votes. According to him, there were 424,569 voters, including 140,015 women.

    Mansehra was considered to be a PML-N stronghold and its defeat is viewed as a major setback for the party.

    Some political analysts have attributed this to the rigid attitude of the Mohammad Safdar, son-in-law of Mian Nawaz Sharif, who had opposed the award of party ticket to Umber Faiz, daughter of late MNA Faiz Mohammad Khan and instead giving the ticket to his brother Tahir Ali.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/12-juif-wins-nas-mansehra-seat-010–bi-08

    Tahir Sarwar Mir’s article:

    http://express.com.pk/images/NP_LHE/20100131/Sub_Images/1100842312-2.gif