Conflicting reports from DRO caused delay in re-polling

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: The district returning officer (DRO) Chitral in his report to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) gave the impression that the people living in the seven controversial polling stations had shifted to other places due to heavy snowfall. sher afganBecause of his report, the ECP had to delay the re-polling to April 13, said Syed Sher Afgan, the director general (elections) at the ECP Islamabad. Talking to ChitralToday at his officer here on Thursday, Mr Afgan said the DRO first informed the commission that the areas in upper Chitral were not approachable due to heavy snowfall. “The DRO sent us a proposal that elections in these stations could not be held before April as the people who had left their homes would not return before April. But then he came up with another proposal to hold elections in March which we declined as this was in conflict with his his earlier correspondence,” he added. Sources said the abrupt change in the DRO’s stance was made after suspended MPA Ghulam Mohammad along with his rival Sardar Hussain of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) moved an application to the provincial election commission for holding re-polling by March. However, the contradictory proposals sent by the DRO forced the ECP to turn down his second recommendation, declaring it is in clear contrast with his earlier proposal. Some insiders are also believed that a former provincial minister, who is currently member provincial assembly, is not ready to lose the coveted slot of chairman DDAC, which was given to him by chief minister Khattak after the membership of Ghulam Muhammad was suspended on the directives of an election tribunal. Another speculation within the political circle is that some ‘Insafians’ are also trying to delay the re-polling as the PTI still awaits its petition which is yet to get the nod of the Supreme Court. The background discussion with people privy to the development revealed that PTI might be interested in the delay of the re-polling as it is optimistic that another opportunity to take part in the polls might help them in winning the controversial seat. Experts also opined that PTI have to tread the bumpy road for some more years to establish its credentials as a true voice of masses. PPP has its own vote bank everywhere in the country including Chitral, they added, while support for APML of Gen Mushharaf has also increased to a great extent due to his ongoing trial. To a question, they said though PTI rules the roost in the province, it is far behind in mustering support to grab PK-90 Chitral II as the stage is all set for a tough contest between the PPP and the APML.  ]]>

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