=> RAHIM YAR KHAN, Feb 17: In a unique example of swi
RAHIM YAR KHAN, Feb 17: In a unique example of swiftness and efficiency, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has arranged printing ballot papers afresh for a constituency from where Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate was disqualified just three days before the elections.
The fresh ballot papers were communicated to the returning officer (RO) on the eve of the polling day which were later distributed among the polling staff to conduct today’s polling smoothly yet uninterruptedly.
The Lahore High Court disqualified on Friday the PPP candidate for NA-197, Rahim
Yar Khan-VI, owing to his possessing fake intermediate certificate. The decision was communicated to the RO on Saturday afternoon.
The RO immediately solicited printing of ballot papers afresh after expunging the name and election symbol of the PPP candidate. The ECP fulfilled the RO’s requisition in less than 24 hours and communicated the newly-printed ballot papers to the RO on Sunday for onward distribution to the presiding officers.
The ballot papers were printed in Lahore and were communicated to the remotest district of the province in such a swift manner, leaving many to wonder the otherwise efficient response of the ECP.
Talking to Dawn, an official posted at the office of district returning officer confirmed that they had received fresh lot of ballot papers, which did not carry Raees Mehboob’s name and election symbol ‘arrow’.
There were reports that Raees Mehboob tried to obtain a stay order against the LHC verdict from the Supreme Court, but he could not as the apex court’s registrar office had returned his petition because it did not contain the certified copy of the verdict signed by all members of the bench.
The LHC verdict has also changed the ground realities. Raees Mehboob was contesting against his own nephew and PML-Q candidate Raees Munir. Though the PML-N had fielded Arshad Khan Leghari against the Raees duo, his position was comparatively weak as his party’s own candidate for PP-296, Chaudhry Shafique, who is a former MPA, was supporting Raees Mehboob.
According to sources, Chaudhry Shafique had rivalry with Arshad Leghari, so he decided supporting the PPP candidate instead of his own party candidate.
After Mehboob’s disqualification, some local elders brokered reconciliation between Chaudhry Shafique and Arshad Leghari and they ultimately decided sailing their boat jointly.
According to sources, Raees Mehboob, being a staunch rival of Raees Munir, could not forge an electoral alliance with his nephew at any cost.
Though Raees Mehboob’s another nephew was his covering candidate, PPP’s disqualified aspirant has also been left with no option except supporting PML-N candidate because the campaign had ended, leaving no room for him to canvass for his covering candidate.