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ISLAMABAD: Three days after nodding the postponement of general elections on two National Assembly seats of Sargodha on account of the death of a contestant on the said seats, the electoral entity on Monday ordered holding these elections as per the previous schedule on - February 8 - after an inquiry found out that the death certificate of the late candidate was fake — and that he passed away before the issuance of final official list of candidates for the polls.

Earlier on Friday, Deputy Commissioner and District Returning Officer for NA-85 Sargodha Captain Shoaib Nissoana (retd) postponed the general elections on two seats; NA-83 and NA-85, citing the death of Sadiq Ali, an independent candidate for the two seats, on January 15. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) approved his decision.

However, Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti, a Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) candidate for NA-85, moved the ECP, challenging the DROs notification, claiming that Ali passed away on January 2 (before the issuance of the final list of candidates for general elections and subsequent allotment of electoral symbols to them by the ECP).

In the proceedings of the case on Monday, the DRO NA-85 informed an ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja that he led an inquiry into the matter which found that Ali passed away on January 2, and that the death certificate issued by the union council concerned was fake. Mufti Kifayatullah, a prayer leader who led the funeral prayer of the late candidate, also confirmed before the ECP bench that Sadiq Ali passed away on January 2, and that his funeral was held the next day.

The CEC observed that why did the DRO not hold an inquiry before postponing the general elections.

The Commission then nullified the DRO’s notification on the postponement of general polls in NA-83 and NA-85, and directed that the general elections be held as per previous schedule — on February 8.

Separately, Shahid Ashraf Tarar, Convenor of the committee formed by the caretaker prime minister to review preparations for general polls, called on the CEC. The latter directed him to visit all the four provincial capitals this week to review general polls arrangements, and brief the commission upon his return, regarding the visit.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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