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ECP unseats Abbottabad mayor for violations
By Tariq Butt / Agencies February 01, 2016
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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECO) on Saturday unseated the Abbottabad district Nazim (chairman or mayor), his deputy and twenty members of the district council for defecting from the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) on whose tickets they had been elected.

Nazim Sher Bahadar, Naib Nazim Shaukat Tanoli and twenty members of the district council had formed a “forward bloc” and acted against the decisions of the PTI.

This is the first time that the ECP has ousted the chief and other members of the local government under the anti-defection law.

The piece of legislation is rarely applied. However, the ECP and courts proceed against the concerned elected representatives when their parties file complaints to the effect.

The unseated local council members can approach a superior court of law against the ECP decision. But for the time being they can’t hold their positions. The ECP would hold re-election in these councils only if the appeals of these members were rejected by high courts. It will take a considerably long time.

They hold the view that they had not switched floor and were still associated with the PTI. However, they said they had formed the group that was within the party. They claimed that it was not disallowed under the relevant law.

These ousted councilors said that they had made a local arrangement so that the top berths of the district council were won by the PTI.

In Abbottabad, Bahadar and Tanoli had joined hands with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to get these slots. The PTI was exasperated over their decision.

Even after thirty months, the 2013 general elections in Pakistan blues continue to haunt the political landscape with the fate of some key MPs still hanging in balance.

In majority cases, PTI is the challenger. It has won some crucial court battles but has also lost some others.

The National Assembly memberships of two key federal ministers — Khawaja Asif and Khawaja Saad Rafiq — have been put on the line.

The Supreme Court has ordered verification of votes in NA-125 Lahore constituency that Saad had won in 2013 but he was unseated by the election tribunal on a petition of the PTI’s losing candidate, Hamid Khan.

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