By-poll in PaK constituency on Oct 28: MC yet to name its candidate

Greater Kashmir

Muzaffarabad, Sep 15: Pakistan administered Kashmir’s Election Commission has announced schedule for by-poll against a seat of the PaK Legislative Assembly which fell vacant after the death of veteran Kashmiri leader Sahibzada Muhammad Ishaq Zaffar early this month.
According to an EC spokesman, nomination papers for LA 28 Muzaffarabad-V could be filed by October 3 which would be scrutinised on the following day. Appeals against acceptance or rejection of nomination papers could be filed before the PaK CEC in his Islamabad office on October 7 which would be heard and disposed off by him after two days.
Withdrawals of nominations could be made by October 11, a day after which the EC would issue final list of candidates with electoral symbols. Polling in the constituency, situated south and southwest of Muzaffarabad city, would be held on October 28.
Sahibzada Zaffar who died of cardiac arrest on September 2 was former president Peoples Party PaK chapter and also leader of the opposition in PaK Assembly.
He had defeated Muslim Conference leader and then Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat’s adviser on political affairs Raja Farooq Haider in July 11 elections, which was his third consecutive victory against him. In all, Sahibzada Zaffar had won all five elections he had contested from this constituency since 1975.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s central leadership announced two days ago that it had decided to award party ticket for by-election to late leader’s son, Sahibzada Ashfaq Zaffar – a practising lawyer in Hattian Bala.
The ruling Muslim Conference is however yet to formally announce its candidate for the by-election although Haider addressed a press conference on Thursday and declared himself a candidate “in view of the opinion of more than 21,000 party workers of his constituency.”
Haider’s cousin Raja Imtiaz Khan has also announced to contest the by-election. During the days of MC’s split, Haider was an office bearer in party’s Sikandar Hayat led group whereas Khan was associated with Sardar Abdul Qayyum led faction.
Interestingly, some MC bigwigs had also floated a suggestion after the death of Sahibzada Zaffar that the party should not field any candidate to create an atmosphere of political tolerance and also to pay tributes to the veteran leader for his services to strengthen democracy in PaK.
However, PaK’s acting Prime Minister Malik Mohammad Nawaz made it clear the other day that MC would not give walk over to any party and would field its candidate for the by-election.