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ECP finalises April 13 as re-polling day in upper Chitral

ISLAMABAD, March 4: All the hopes to reschedule the April 13 re-polling in the seven controversial polling stations of PK-90 upper Chitral were shattered after a commission constituted by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) stuck to the date set earlier. Well-placed sources in the ECP told ChitralToday that the commission was formed after the suspended MPA Ghulam Muhammad and his runner-up Sardar Hussain objected to the unnecessary delay being caused in holding the polls. In two separate applications filed with the provincial election commission in Peshawar, the duo had demanded early re-election in the seven polling stations, saying the inordinate delay was adding to the miseries of people as they had been without any representatives for the last several months. But the sources privy to the development maintained that the two contradictory proposals sent by district returning officer (DRO) Chitral for holding the repelling were the main reasons to uphold the ECP notification for holding the repelling on April 13. The DRO had sent two different proposals for re-elections in the polling stations. He first proposed to hold the polling in April, saying people in the area had left their homes due to heavy snowfall. Later, he contradicted his own proposal, saying March would be appropriate for the election. This is necessary to clarify that there is no place in Chitral where people leave their homes in the winter due to snowfall. However, the sources at the ECP who declined to be named said the contradiction in DRO’s recommendations forced the ECP to uphold his earlier proposal to go for elections in April. “Why did you say that people have left homes and then all of a sudden you negate your own proposal…it means you are trying to mislead us which is not acceptable,” said a top ECP official who wished not to be named. He also maintained that the delay was caused due to negligence of both Ghulam Muhammad and Sardar Hussain who did not bother to follow the polling plan which paved the way for their opponents to exploit the situation and get a date of their choice. “It was your job to keep in touch with the DRO and tell him about the election date which suits you or else you must stop crying once the date has been fixed,” he contended. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has carried the proposed cause list for the month of March. But interestingly this time too the PTI petition is missing from the cause list. At the same time, background discussions with people belonging to different walks of life revealed that All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) of Gen Pervez Musharraf was still the most popular political party in the rugged mountains. Some insiders claimed that the former president was contemplating to send his representative to the district before the re-elections as the party believes Chitral is its stronghold from it had already managed to clinch two seats despite election boycott. The love for Gen Musharraf in Chitral is considered to be a ‘junoon’ for many and some outspoken women like Shahida Sehar have expressed their undying love for her leader, with a clear message to sacrifice her life for the hot-headed commando. “If this is not junoon, jazba, wafadari and above all acknowledgement to the services of Gen Msuharraf, what else will you name? It’s more enough than to prove the popularity of Gen Musharraf with a clear-cut message to his political opponents in the valley,” said Mustansir, a diehard supporter of Gen Musharraf who regularly attends the hearing of politically motivated cases against him with a placard inscribed with words “Musharraf terei jaan nisar, Beshumar, Beshumar.”]]>

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