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Validity of PPPP elections questioned

March 23, 2013

ISLAMABAD, March 22: The validity of intra-party elections of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) was questioned in a petition filed in Islamabad High Court (IHC), challenging the allotment of ‘Arrow’ to the party.

Estranged leaders of the party Safdar Ali Abbasi, his wife Naheed Khan and Agha Nasir Ali Shah, who was elected for National Assembly (MNA) in 2008 from Quetta were the petitioners. They said since the elections were ‘bogus’, the party did not qualify for the Arrow.

They in their petition contended that “the questionable mode and manner in which these elections were held has raised many eyebrows because fundamental flaws have been noted by many of the members of the party, the general public and the media”.

In PPPP’s elections held in January this year, Makhdoom Amin Fahim was re-elected as central chairman and prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf secretary general of the party.

Other office bearers included Manzoor Wattoo, President PPPP Punjab, Tanveer Ashraf Kaira, General Secretary Punjab, Qaim Ali Shah, President Sindh, Taj Haider, General Secretary Sindh, Anwar Saifullah President Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sadiq Umrani, President Balochistan.

The petition of the PPPP’s former lawmakers alleged that, “no one within the party knew about the last date of filing of nomination papers, their scrutiny and even the date of elections.

The whole process was completed secretly until the new office-bearers were notified.”

The petitioners claimed that the intra-party elections were in fact an exercise done on paper only because all the candidates were returned unopposed and no one else filed nomination papers, and predetermined results were announced.

The petitioners pointed out that no notification for the formation of election commission was ever issued or publicized. No list of members was made available to ordinary members.

The process of intra-party elections was aimed at fulfilling the statutory requirements only, yet the credibility of such exercise remains questionable, they said.

The petitioners then criticised the internal conflicts within the PPPP. They contended that for the last few years, the key decisions within the party were being taken arbitrarily.

They quoted the example of election nominations or for that matter nomination for office bearers which, they alleged, had not been processed through any intra-party democratic device.

The petition contended that former senator Abbasi had pointed out the irregularity to Mr Naek on February 1, 2013 and on February 25 but to no avail.

The matter was also brought into the notice of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) but all the efforts of the petitioners fell on deaf ears, it added.

The petitioners requested the court to declare the intra party elections of the PPPP a malafide exercise and direct the ECP not to allot or issue election symbol to PPPP for contesting the upcoming general elections.

The IHC registrar office has fixed the petition before the Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi for initial hearing on March 25, the same day the election commission of Pakistan would take up the matter for the allotment of election symbol to the PPPP.

PPPP central secretary information, Qamar Zaman Kaira, when contacted said that the estranged groups always play the role of spoilers but it never hurt the party.He said that “it is not the court to decide the fate of any political party as the ultimate forum is the general public who can pass a verdict for or against any political party.”

“If someone has any doubt on the affairs of the party the forum of people of Pakistan is available for them and they can bring this matter to the people's court”, he added.