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PML-N leaders blame party men for defeat in LG elections

PML-N leaders blame party men for defeat in LG elections

ISLAMABAD: Former Senator Zafar Ali Shah and other local PML-N leaders on Thursday claimed that Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Minister Tariq Fazal Chaudhry failed to secure a good result despite rigging the elections and being involved in land grabbing.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Shah alleged that tickets for the local bodies elections were sold and that Tariq Fazal, who is president of PML-N’s Islamabad wing, misled the prime minister about election results for Islamabad.

“Mr Fazal claimed PML-N had won the elections is Islamabad when we had lost 31 of 50 seats. Mr Fazal was elected from NA-49 in the general elections. In that constituency, 194,000 votes were polled from the 27 union councils (UC) and PML-N got just 70,521 of them,” Mr Shah said.

The former senator distributed copies of a notification signed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and said the party head had formed a 13-member committee on October 28 to select candidates for the local bodies elections. However, Mr Shah said he had only just learnt about the notifications a few days ago.

The notification states that Iqbal Zafar Jhagra was to head the committee and that Mr Shah and Tariq Fazal Chaudhry were to be members of the said committee.

“Some in the Prime Minister’s Office and Tariq Fazal did not inform others about this and Mr Fazal then gave an impression that he was authorised by the prime minister to select candidates for chairmen in the UCs,” he alleged.

“Tariq Fazal did not disclose the notification because he had to sell tickets for the seats of chairmen,” he claimed.

He said that Mr Fazal had not given a ticket to PML-N Islamabad General Secretary Malik Shujaur Rehman or to Mr Shah’s son. However, a ticket had been awarded to a proclaimed offender, he alleged.

“Just seven days before the elections, Mr Fazal was nominated CADD Minister because of which the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and educational institutions came under him. He used teachers and CDA staff to rig the elections,” he said.

Explaining why he was holding a press conference, Mr Shah said: “After the elections, I filed an application with the Prime Minister’s Office, but could not reach the prime minister because of some elements in the office. I have no other option except talk to the media.”

PML-N Islamabad General Secretary Malik Shujaur Rehman alleged that the Election Commission and polling agents were involved in rigging and that some PML-N candidates were not allowed to win.

“This is why the PML-N lost in Islamabad when it won in the rest of Punjab and Rawalpindi,” he added.

Advocate Chaudhry Ashraf Gujjar, who lost the by-election from NA-48, said he could have won if his ticket had not been cancelled three times because of the CADD minister.

“Mr Fazal and his accomplices used all their resources to defeat me, when I had bagged 42,000 votes. People like him have made politics a business and criminals and land grabbers have now joined PML-N. Tariq’s uncle, Chaudhry Matloob, occupied a farm house from a sitting Lahore High Court judge,” he alleged.

Mr Gujjar said people like Tariq Fazal should not be made president of the party’s Islamabad wing. “His business revolves around CDA, which has been handed over to him. He and his companions have occupied many plots,” he said.

However, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry told Dawn that all the tickets for the UCs were awarded purely on merit.

“Mr Shah was given a ticket and his son wasn’t because he seldom visits rural areas,” he said.

About the notification the minister said: “There were two notifications, one was for the committee and the second was regarding responsibility for awarding tickets, for which I was chosen. Mr Shah could not participate in the meetings because he was unwell.”

He said his family has been based in the area for 400 years and that everyone knew about his property, saying land grabbing allegations were baseless.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2016

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