LAHORE: The Gilanis and the Qureshis – political giants of Multan – have locked horns over transfer and posting of bureaucrats in the district ahead of a by-poll in National Assembly constituency NA-157 scheduled for Sept 25.

Both the political opponents are raising voice in support and against the Multan commissioner, deputy commissioner and Multan Development Authority (MDA) head.

Former prime minister and PPP vice chairman Senator Yusuf Raza Gilani’s son Ali Musa Gilani and former foreign minister and PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s daughter Meher Bano Qureshi are contesting for NA-157.

Mr Qureshi wanted to change Multan Commissioner Aamer Khatak for what he alleged his negative role during the PP-217 by-poll. Mr Qureshi accused the commissioner of supporting his opponents during the PP-217 by-election and had spoken about the issue in different public meetings and press conferences.

Mr Qureshi alleged that the commissioner was ‘taking orders’ from Yusuf Raza Gilani and his sons during the by-election.

Mr Qureshi had also contacted Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi for transfer of the commissioner who was not transferred first due to Muharram and secondly the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had issued a schedule for the by-election.

Sources claimed that an adviser to Elahi from Multan also approached him [CM] to stop the transfer of the commissioner as he was in good relations with him.

However, sources claimed that Mr Qureshi and his supporters were trying to get the the Multan commissioner changed and appoint their ‘favourite’ to the post during the NA 157 by-election.

Sources claimed that Mr Qureshi and his son MPA Zain Hussain Qureshi also held a meeting with Commissioner Khatak who was trying to resolve the issue but the duo did not accept his apologies.

The father and son proposed Mr Khatak to get leave from his office during the by-elections.

Sources claimed that Mr Qureshi wanted to give acting charge of the commissioner post to MDA head Saleem Qiaser.

Mr Khatak also filed a leave application for having family commitments with the chief secretary which stated, “I have some family commitments at my village at Nowshera, KP. Therefore, it is requested to kindly allow me earned leave/ station leave from August 5 to September 15, 2022.”

However, the ECP had issued an order to the Punjab government for implementation of the code of conduct regarding posting/ transfer for NA-157 Multan-IV.

Mr Qureshi while addressing a press conference said he had also requested [in the past PP-217 by-elections] that everyone should be given a level-playing field and people should be allowed to decide the fate of the candidates.

He said no bureaucrat should intervene in elections and should play a neutral role.

He said as the election schedule was announced and now no one could be transferred but if anyone had sought leave for personal reasons he should have the right to do so. Meanwhile, former PM Yusuf Raza Gilani told a news conference that the commissioner had filed the leave application due to alleged PTI’s pressure and demanded that the ECP take notice of the matter.

Later, the ECP returning officer also directed the chief secretary not to approve the leave application of the commissioner.

The ECP also suspended the transfer and posting orders of grade-18 officers in the National Highway Authority on the recommendation of NA-157 returning officer.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022

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