The Returning Officer (RO) of NA-53 Islamabad has shocked all main contenders of this constituency. He rejected the nomination papers of former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former governor KPK Sardar Mehtab Abbasi of PML-N, PTI chief Imran Khan and disgruntled leader of PTI Ayesha Gulalai. This is really a surprising decision. The objection raised by the returning officer stated that the respective candidates failed to fill up affidavit according to the conditions mentioned.
According to the ECP, the nomination forms were turned down over violation of Section N of the affidavit, relating to development work a candidate undertook in their constituency. The interesting fact is that none of the candidate ever contested election in this constituency. This constituency is created in the new delimitations as Islamabad got its third national assembly constituency. The non compliance of clause N of affidavit is made the ground for rejecting the nomination papers of three political heavy heights.
The nomination papers are rejected on weak grounds by the RO of NA-53. It seems that RO’s decision will most likely be set aside by the election tribunal. A close fight is expected in this Islamabad constituency between former PM Abbasi, Imran Khan and PPP candidate. Former chairman Senate and senior PPP leader Syed Nayyer Hussain Bukhari is not contesting himself in this election but instead his younger brother is the PPP candidate. Syed Nayyer Bukhari won this constituency in 2002 when this constituency was part of the NA-49 Islamabad rural.
All eyes will be focused on this constituency because PTI chief Imran Khan and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi decided to contest the election from this constituency. The Abbasi clan has big number of votes in this constituency. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is relying heavily on Abbasi votes to clinch victory against Imran Khan.
Imran Khan’s nomination papers for NA-53 had been challenged last week. Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party (PJDP) leader Abdul Wahab Baloch filed objections with the Returning Officer concerned, pointing out the issue of Sitawhite case. He argued that the PTI chief is not eligible to contest the elections as he didn’t meet the criterion laid down under articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.
ACE News Election Cell special report