ECP issues show cause notice to PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto over NA-205 elections

Karachi (HRNW); Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) today (Tuesday) issued show cause notice in the name of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto, According to details, a monitoring team of the ECP issued the notice to the National Assembly member for trying to influence the elections in NA-205 (Ghotki). PPP stalwarts Qaim Ali Shah, Khursheed Shah and Nasir Hussain Shah have also been issued notices by the state institute demanding answers for their participation and campaigning in favor of the party candidate in the constituency. The Election Commission also issued a show cause notice to Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) member Sardar Ali Gohar Mehr along with assembly members Islam Sheikh and Ali Nawaz Mehr.

Earlier, The NA-205-Ghotki-II by-election is likely to be delayed for seven days or more due to the ongoing case of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate in Sindh High Court (SHC). According to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Sindh High Court (SHC) has stopped ECP from publishing ballot papers till July 16. The SHC will announce the verdict on July 16. “It is not possible to print ballot papers within one day after the announcement of a verdict by SHC on July 16, said ECP. However, the ECP is mulling over to hold Ghokti by-polls on July 25 instead of scheduled date July 18. NA-205-Ghotki seat fell vacant due to the death of Ali Muhammad Mahar on May 21 due to cardiac arrest. On the other hand, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Saturday requested Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa to ensure free, fair and transparent by-election on a National Assembly seat (NA-205) in Ghotki as per the schedule of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

PPP Secretary-General Farhatullah Babar wrote a letter to the chief justice, stating that ECP announced by-poll on NA-205 on June 16, after which various aspirants, including the candidate and covering candidate of the PPP, filed their nomination papers. A final list of aspirants vying for the seat was published after due process, including the nomination papers’ scrutiny. Babar said an appeal challenging the candidature of PPP’s Sardar Muhammad Bux Mahar was filed before an election tribunal but was dismissed. He said the PPP candidate’s papers were then challenged in the high court that reserved a verdict after hearing arguments and is scheduled to pronounce it on July 16 when campaigning for the by-poll is to end. “Be that as it may, in case the judgment is announced against our candidate, he will not have sufficient time to approach the Supreme Court and would thus be barred from contesting elections. As a result, not only a candidate but a political party would effectively be disenfranchised,” he apprehended.

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