ECP postpones polls in NA-60 after Hanif Abbasi’s disqualification


–Sheikh Rasheed, PPP’s NA-60 candidate protest decision, dub it ‘unconstitutional’


ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday postponed polls in Rawalpindi’s NA-60 after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi was disqualified from contesting from the constituency.

Abbasi’s disqualification came after he was sentenced to life by an anti-narcotics court on Saturday in the ephedrine case.

He was accused of misusing 500kg of the controlled chemical ephedrine, which he obtained for his company, Gray Pharmaceutical, in 2010.

The ECP issued a statement a day after the verdict, saying, “The polling schedule for NA-60 will be issued later.”

The decision of postponing elections in the constituency did not go down well with the rival parties, with Awami Muslim League (AML) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) dubbing the decision “unconstitutional”.

Reacting to the news, Sheikh Rasheed called the ECP’s decision unconstitutional and said that if things were done this way then elections should have been delayed when Captain (r) Safdar was sent to jail.

“I have spent too much money on the elections. I am a Sheikh and I can’t even sleep at night now,” he said.

It would be understandable if the election was being postponed due to some firing incident or death of a candidate in the constituency, he said, adding that a conspiracy had been hatched to postpone the polls.

Meanwhile, PPP Secretary General Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said the ECP had “stepped outside its authority” by calling off polls in the said constituency.

Addressing a press conference in the capital, Bukhari said elections in any constituency could only be called off in the case of death of a candidate. “Before Hanif Abbasi, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (r) Safdar were disqualified as well but the polls weren’t delayed in their respective constituencies,” he said while adding that ECP, by such actions, was becoming “controversial”.

Mukhtar Abbas, PPP’s candidate for NA-60, at the occasion, said that his campaign had gained momentum and he was hopeful to achieve success. “ECP has done great injustice to the people of NA-60, where PPP was winning hands down.”

“PPP will approach a higher court for justice,” he said.


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