PESHAWAR: As the returning officer for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa began scrutinising nomination papers for the forthcoming Senate elections on Thursday, Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq warned that if the ‘ugly business of sale and purchase of votes’ by wealthy candidates continued, he would ask the people to stage sit-in outside the houses of the culpable MPAs.
Following the acceptance of his nomination papers for the general seat in Senate, Siraj told reporters that wealthy candidates had turned the provincial assembly into a cattle market, where price was placed on MPAs.
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“The people should grab MPAs by the collar if they sell their votes in the Senate elections as it is a menace disastrous for the democratic dispensation,” he said, adding that he requested members of all assemblies to stay away from the ugly business, which earned a bad name for democracy.
The JI chief said all MPAs should turn down any offer made to them by ‘unscrupulous’ candidates and should clearly told them that the days of buying MPAs had gone.
Warns will ask people to stage sit-in outside houses of culpable MPAs
He said the people had elected MPAs after standing in long queues during general elections and therefore, selling out their representatives would be a shameful act.
Siraj said the Senate should not be a club of the elite and instead, it should truly represent the people.
He asked MPAs to cast vote on merit and avoid horse trading.
The JI chief criticised smaller parties with five members in the assembly only saying one of them has fielded two candidates against general seats, so it should be asked what magic they have to win two seats with five MPAs.
Meanwhile, the returning officer accepted nomination papers of 17 candidates against general seats and those reserved for non-Muslims for the Senate elections in the province.
Mussaratullah Khan, who is also the provincial election commissioner, scrutinised papers and accepted 14 papers against seven general seats and three against a single seat reserved for non-Muslims.
In the latest development, independent candidate Liaquat Khan Tarakai, father of senior provincial minister and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan chief Shahram Tarakai, submitted the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ticket during the scrutiny of his papers.
He was also accompanied by provincial minister Shah Farman and other PTI members.
Liaquat Tarakai told reporters that he had full confidence in the leadership of Imran Khan.
However, he and Shah Farman parried questions regarding on what conditions he was awarded ticket by PTI as he was not its member.
Those, whose papers were accepted against general seats, included Waqar Amad Khan (independent), Aamar Ahmad Khan (Qaumi Watan Party), Maulana Attaur Rehman (JUI-F), Haji Mohammad Adeel (ANP), Sirajul Haq (Jamaat-i-Islami), Professor Mohammad Ibrahim (JI), Lt-Gen (r) Salahuddin Tirmazi (PML-N), Abdul Malik (QWP), Mohsin Aziz (PTI), Manzoor Khan (JUI-F), Liaquat Khan Tarakai (PTI), Khanzada Khan (PPP), Noor Alam Khan (PPP) and Syed Shibli Faraz (PTI).
Two of the PTI candidates, including Barrister Salman Hameed and Fazal Mohammad, didn’t produce a letter of their party providing they were awarded party ticket.
They were asked by the returning officer to produce the same today (Friday), the last day for the scrutiny of nomination papers.
Another candidate, Daud Burki, who is a local leader of PTI and had filed papers as independent candidate, didn’t produce his proposer and seconder before the returning officer due to which his application will be taken up today (Friday).
He told reporters that he was promised a party ticket by the party leadership but was not sure where his proposer and seconder, from the PTI, had gone.
The returning officer also accepted nomination papers of three of the candidates against the seat of non-Muslims.
They included James Iqbal (JUI-F), Brigadier (r) John Kenneth Williams (PTI) and outgoing Senator Amer Jeet (ANP).
The nomination papers of Ravi Kumar (PTI) was kept pending as he didn’t produce a letter of his party on the award of ticket to him for the Senate elections.
The scrutiny of nomination papers will end today (Friday).
Appeals against the decision of the returning officer could be filed on Feb 23 and 24 with the Election Commission of Pakistan secretary or members.
Decisions on the appeals will be given on Feb 26 and 27.
The last date for the withdrawal of nomination papers will be Feb 28. The final list of candidates will be released the same day.
The polling for vacant Senate seats will take place on March 5.
Six senators of the ANP, five of the PPP and one of the JUI-F will complete their term on March 11.
Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2015