Code of ethics bulldozed, govt using state resources against AWP candidate

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GILGIT: The federal as well as provincial governments are using state machinery and resources to keep Awami Workers Party (AWP) candidate Baba Jan from the by-elections on GBLA seat in the Hunza valley.

While in their bids to win the seat by in sidelining the most vocal and popular candidate, who has been kept behind bars in a fake case, the government also bulldozed the law and dumped the rules of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

These views were expressed by leaders of the Pakistan Awami Workers Party including central general secretary Farooq Tariq, election coordinator Sultan Madad, Engineer Amanullah and AWP Hunza president Zahoor Elahi at a press conference here.

They said that both the federal and provincial governments trampled all the rules and law and the code of conduct to win the polls. They said that the government also trashed the code of conduct formulated by the ECP for the by-elections. Under the law, they added, the government cannot announce any development project in the election area after the announcement of the election schedule but the prime minister and the chief minister completely disregarded the law and announced projects to win the polls. They said that the government was fearing a crashing defeat in the hand of Baba Jan and tried to win the elections by hook or by crook. They said that the popularity of the ruling party got exposed after its top leaders rushed to the area and announce projects just to win the polls against a popular leader of the people who was languishing in jail in a fake case.

They said that the governor of Gilgit-Baltistan, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, was also involved in the conspiracy to get his son win the polls. But the people were supporting Baba Jan in order to end the family politics in the area which was being promoted by the PML-N. they said that even all these were not enough, the PML- government also sent Benazir Income Support Programme chief Marvi Memon to the Hunza valley to use the charity funds to win votes.

But the AWP leaders expressed the surprise that despite all these violations, the ECP remained in a deep slumber and was not ready to take any action against the law breakers including Marvi Memon, showing that it was also hands in glove in the conspiracy to defeat Baba Jan.

In reply to a question, the AWP leaders said that the former PPP candidate Iqbal Zafar was dancing to the tune of the ruling party and deliberately filed an appeal I the Supreme Appellate Court against the decision of the tribunal which under the law could not have been filed. They claimed that working class, rights defenders and youth of the Hunza valley were fully behind Baba Jan and were working for his victory round the clock. They said this was the only reason that the ruling party was running from pillar to post and using all available state resources and leveling baseless allegations against Baba Jan to win the seat and maintain its honour.

They said that before becoming the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, Hafiz Hafizur Rehman had promised that if his party came to power, cases against Baba Jan would be dropped and the report of the judicial commission in the Aliabad incident would be made public. However, even eight months after coming to power the chief minister did not fulfill his promise and is following the footsteps of his predecessors.

They also alleged that the district returning officer was still accepting applications for the postal ballots even after the expiry of the date for filing of the papers and when he was asked to explain it the RO pressured the workers of the AWP.

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Abdul Hamid Khan is the chairman of Balawaristan National Front (BNF), a nationalist political party of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan), which Pakistan had purposefully named as Northern Areas to keep its disputed status obscured. Chairman Khan started a political struggle for the human and political rights of the deprived people of Gilgit-Baltistan, after the year 1988. However, in the depoliticized region under the Pakistani bureaucratic establishment he faced many difficulties.

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