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LAHORE: With the Model Town Society (MTS) elections scheduled to be held on Sunday (tomorrow), an independent candidate contesting for the president’s slot has accused his opponents and the society administration of making unlawful amendments to the bylaws, promoting commercial activities in residential areas and using other tactics for vested interests.

“They are trying hard to be elected for another term by keeping me away from the elections. They are not providing me a level-playing field; they have removed my banners, posters and all promotional material just to keep me from questioning them,” Mansoor Hasan Khan alleged while talking to Dawn on Friday.

The MTS was founded in 1924 with its first president being Raja Narendra Nath. From 2006 to January 2018, the society has been ruled by two groups led by retired Col Tahir H. Kardar and Sahibzada Saifur Rehman.

Mansoor Khan says two-time winners contesting third time unlawfully

For the next three-year term, Mr Rehman, Mr Kardar and Mr Khan are in the run for the president’s position. For the vice president’s slot, Daood Bari and Zill A. Elahi are in the run. For 20 seats of the management committee, there are 38 candidates in the race.

“Both the groups -- Model Town and Friends -- were earlier together but separated for the elections. Mr Rehman and Mr Kardar have already ruled the society for two teams each. Under the bylaws, a candidate, who has served two terms, cannot contest the elections for a third time. But to accommodate themselves, they mutually decided to amend the bylaws allowing them to contest for a third time,” Mr Khan alleged.

He said the society’s land was precious, but the two groups wanted to convert 70 kanals allocated to a garden into a commercial zone. They don’t even want to retrieve a piece of 30 kanals of land being used as a helipad for the chief minister. “I have requested many times to the society administration to provide me details of land deals, schemes and copy of audited accounts. But to no avail. I also wrote letters to the provincial authorities to take action, but nothing,” he added.

Rejecting the allegations, Mr Rehman called Mr Khan a liar. “I am not the president now. And whatever he (Hasan) needs, he should blame the society administration and not me or others,” he further said.

He added that the bylaws were amended after approval of the entire society administration. “Mr Khan challenged the amendment in the courts of law and other relevant forums. But finally the decision came in our favour,” he explained.

Mr Rehman wondered why he or his supporters would need to remove Mr Khan’s promotional posters since they knew he would hardly be able to get 10 votes in a society of over 4,000. “Actually, the society had cancelled a plot Mr Khan had bought in an auction after paying 25 per cent of the total payment. Since he couldn’t pay the remaining amount within the specific timeframe, the society cancelled his plot under the law. He was annoyed over that,” he claimed.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2018