By: Ashrafuddin Pirzada
PAKISTAN: Political parties and independent candidates for Landikotal Tehsil Chairmanship staged a protest demonstration at Charwazgay Chowk in Landikotal and block the Pak-Afghan highway to record their protest against the alleged rigging in the Local Government Elections polling held on December 19 on Sunday.
Thousands of supporters of political parties and independent candidates stormed over to the main road at Charwazgay locality where they chanted full-throat slogans against Election Commission of Pakistan(ECP), Assistant commissioner of Landikotal and police. They blocked the road for an hour where long queues of heavy trucks, taxi cabs and passenger coaches were seen stranded on the both sides of the road.
Speaking on the occasion, Awami National Party district Khyber president and senior politician Shah Hussain Shinwari said that election commission of Pakistan along with the local administration and police played a drama with all political parties that damaged the long awaited democratic practice.
“We are not accepting the highly proved rigged election held in Landikotal on December 19, and demand of the election commission of Pakistan to stop the Landikotal Local Bodies election results”, Shah Hussasin demanded. He added that they have videos and pictures that would prove that LG polls in Landikotal were fixed.
He showed a number of ballot papers of the tehsil chairmanship to media and asked the authorities that how could it be brought out of the polling stations. He said use of money broke the records of the past elections.
The ANP leader said if official results of the Landikotal Local Bodies elections were announced they would be compelled to take any step in their right. He said election commission of Pakistan and the so-called wining candidate for the chairmanship would be responsible if situation went out of their control.
Shahid Shinwari alleged that assistant commissioner of Landikotal was involved in the pre-polling rigging. He said that assistant commissioner and election commission staff with the help of local police had filled the ballot boxes with stamped ballots in the favour of one candidate who allegedly used billion of rupees to win the tehsil chairman election.
Shinwari said they would soon file case against the assistant commissioner of Landikotal to put him behind the bars. He said at most women polling stations staff was either paid bribe or forced on gunpoint to cast illegal votes. He said with all proofs in hand he would meet the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mehmood Khan soon to take action against the assistant commissioner of Landikotal who, according to him, played role to rig the election. He said the local government elections were held for the first time in the merged districts but election commission of Pakistan failed to conduct it free and fair.
Twenty tehsil chairmanship candidates including the rulling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate Adanan Shinwari , Jamat-e-Islami leader Muqtadar Shah Afridi, independent candidate Sayed Alam Khan Shalmani, Qawmi Watan Party leader Daulat Shah Afridi,Shakirullah Afridi and Kaleem Khan Shinwari unilaterally rejected the election results and demanded for re-polling. They announced that an application would be submitted at the Landikotal election commission office today(Tuesday) asking the government to declare the local bodies elections in Landikotal tehsil null and void and announce re-election.
It may be mentioned here that Local Government elections were stopped in the Landikotal far-flung Bazarzakhakhel area after supporters of two contesting candidates exchanged gunfire and used of rocket launchers during the elections hours. The authorities have asked residents to remain at home and controlled the situation after the incident. It was also confirmed that one of the rocket shell also hit the school’s compound where election was underway. However, no casualty was reported.