GILGIT: Chief Election Commissioner of Gilgit-Baltistan Tahir Shah issued a warning to candidates who had raised doubts about legislative assembly elections scheduled for June 8.
Speaking to journalists at his office on Saturday, the CEC said many candidates had a series of reservations about the overall poll process and had made statements in the media in this regard.
“I strongly advise these candidates to approach the election commission with their complaints,” Shah said. “All they need to do is submit a written complaint and justify it with at least two forms of proof.”
The CEC indirectly hinted at a suggestion made by PPP candidate Jamil Ahmed – that Shah take action against what Ahmed defined as illegal election activities by G-B Governor Barjees Tahir.
“If you expect me to take action based on every allegation which appears in the newspaper, then no candidate would be spared,” he added.
Action and reaction
Shah said he took action against G-B governor after he received a “genuine complaint” against him.
“I received a complaint about his plans to take part in a laptop distribution ceremony at a university,” he said. “However, I didn’t allow him to do so.”
He said Tahir has the right to either stay in Gilgit or Islamabad to perform his official duties.
“I have no soft corner for any political party,” he said. “If politicians feel I am partial to a particular group, they should approach the court.”
According to Shah, he would take action against any official who was acting beyond his or her powers.
Earlier, Shah had barred Basharatullah, a caretaker minister, from visiting Diamer, his hometown, after he had campaigned for his uncle who was contesting on a PML-N ticket. Moreover, Benazir Income Support Programme Chairperson Marvi Memon had also been forced to leave Skardu recently when a candidate had complained she was attempting to use BISP forums to woo voters.
The CEC said the army’s help might be sought in some constituencies in Gilgit and Diamer District. “But this will be decided in our next meeting with military personnel,” he said. “The army’s services could be sought for other areas also if the need arises.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2015.