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SAHIWAL: The election tribunal has so far disposed only 26 per cent of petitions so far in Sahiwal division.

The tribunal is dealing with the petitions filed by the candidates of Local Government Election 2015 of Okara, Pakpattan and Sahiwal districts, Dawn learnt.

The Election Commission had formed eight tribunals after completion of third phase of local government election in Punjab.

The task of tribunals was to decide disputes after the election within the settlement period of 120 days.

Rana Zahid, a former high court judge, was appointed tribunal head on Feb 28, 2016.

As there was no independent tribunal office and structure in the division, the judge had to use the ECP office in Tariq Bin Ziyad Colony.

Rana Abdul Gaffar, district election officer, said 100 petitions were filed by contesting candidates from three districts.

Among them, 39 each were filed from Pakpattan and Okara while 22 were filed from Sahiwal.

“Out of them, only 26 election petitions have been disposed of so far while the rest of 64 petitions are still under process,” a source in the local ECP office said.

Replying to a question that how much time a tribunal required to dispose of the rest of petitions, Election Commissioner Arif said it depended on the nature of election disputes.

“No specific time limit can be given,” he added.

An ECP senior official, on condition of anonymity, said a tribunal judge’s office term was three months which was too short to give decisions on all the petitions.

Hence the tribunal judges were given extensions but slow-paced tribunal judges would only get extension on reasonable grounds.

Explaining the slow process of dealing with the election petitions by the local tribunal, Mr Arif cited no proper office, shortage of staff and a large number of cases in the division as reasons for the delay.

He said in Faisalabad division only 45 cases were filed and tribunal resolved 41 within 120 days but in Sahiwal, the number filed cases were too high as compared to Faisalabad.

ITIKAF: Clearance from the security and special branch and verification by the police station concerned are mandatory for those who want to sit for itikaf at Baba Farid shrine during the last 10 days of Ramazan.

The district government has imposed a complete ban on itikaf for women at the shrine, said Auqaf manager Gohar Mustafa while talking to the media persons here on Saturday.

He said around 300 applications had already been received for itikaf.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2016