The Punjab MPA aspirants remain in the dark about the status of their application and associated dues submitted earlier this year, several former PML-N lawmakers disclosed on Friday.
The former MPAs revealed to The Express Tribune that they believed this deliberate confusion seemed to be aiming at pressing them to pay the dues again.
Earlier, PML-N opened the ticket award process for which it invited applications for national as well as provincial assembly seats. November 10 marks the deadline for ticket application submissions, as stated by the party.
According to the party guidelines, an aspirant is expected to submit a draft of Rs100,000 for a Punjab seat application and Rs200,000 for a National Assembly ticket application. As such, those interested in more than one ticket will have to pay separately for each seat.
This was confirmed by several party’s former parliamentarians.
Interestingly, this was not the first time aspiring candidates in Punjab would be going through this process, as earlier this year in March, the party had invited applications for provincial tickets along with a Rs100,000 draft in March, when elections were announced by ECP in the province on April 30.
PML-N, which was in power in the centre then, had announced via state media outlet that it would be creating a parliamentary board which would start issuing tickets by March 15.
However, at the very last minute, the party either decided against issuing tickets or got wind of ECP’s plan of whimsically delaying elections.
Of former MPAs, who had submitted tickets, some had hoped that the party would consider their applications and bank draft for the award of tickets now, however had then revealed that the party had not conveyed anything to them.
The party’s information secretary, Marriyum Aurangzeb, when asked on November 1 about these applications, had said that as per her understanding, those who had submitted tickets along with the dues, would not require to submit them again.
However, former government Sindh and spokesperson to Nawaz Sharif, Muhammad Zubair said that all those who had submitted applications before will have to submit the applications again.
He said that there was no guarantee that all who had submitted applications would be willing to contest elections now as well, some might change their mind.
He said under the new delimitation, some might want to change the constituency for elections, which is why they have sought fresh applications. When asked about dues, he said that the party would consider that however did not clarify what that meant.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, four former MPAs shared that the party has yet to provide any clarification about the dues they had previously submitted. They confirmed having this issue discussed among themselves and made plans to bring it to the attention of the party leadership.
They all agreed that this confusion meant that they would have to submit another bank draft.
When asked to confirm if they had submitted a draft before, former MPAs Khawaja Waseem and Akhtar Hussain confirmed that they had each paid Rs100,000 for their applications earlier in the year. However, both couldn’t recall the exact date.
Former MPA Waseem said that since they do not exactly know the status of dues submitted earlier, they will submit dues again. He however said that this was not an issue for any aspiring candidate though.
When asked to confirm, how many drafts will a person submit, who aspires to receive more than one ticket, he said that for every ticket application, there will be one draft.
MQM-P urges devolution via constitutional amendments
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Senior Deputy Convener Mustafa Kamal has said that his party has proposed three constitutional amendments for the devolution of powers from the Chief Minister’s House to the people in the streets in order to save the country.
Addressing the ‘Meet the Editors’ programme of the Council of Newspaper Editors (CPNE) on the theme of ‘General Elections and Future Strategy’, Kamal said that the amendments proposed by the MQM-P were vital to save the country. He said that the party was sending these proposals to the leaders of all political parties.
“Those who are angry with the slogan of province should support our constitutional amendments,” he said. “Despite the 18th Amendment, powers and financial resources have not been transferred to the grassroots level.” He criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), saying that the former ruling party in the provinces was banking on the boycott from London.
However, he asserted that the MQM-P would win all 22 National Assembly seats from Karachi in the upcoming general elections.
“The MQM is fully active for the preparation of the elections,” Kamal said. The MQM-P leader added that currently, there were three major political parties in the country – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the PPP.
On the occasion, MQM-P Coordination Committee member and former federal minister Aminul Haq said that elections would be held on Feb 8. He assured that the MQM-P fully believed in the freedom of expression and the rights of journalists. Whenever any attempt was made to usurp the rights of journalists or restrict the freedom of expression, Haq added, the MQM-P, along with the CPNE and other journalist organisations, resisted and thwarted such moves at every forum, including parliament.
Ahad Cheema acquitted in NAB reference
An accountability court on Friday acquitted Ahad Cheema, the special assistant to the caretaker prime minister, in assets beyond means reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Accountability Judge Ali Zulqarnain had reserved the ruling on the acquittal plea after hearing arguments of the NAB prosecutor and the defence counsel earlier in the day. Cheema also appeared before the court during the proceedings.
On Nov 27, in a supplementary report, NAB informed the court that Cheema’s assets were consistent with his known income, asserting that properties held by alleged benamidars/relatives were not his. Based on evidence, the case under NAO, 1999, was not substantiated, it added.
Cheema had served as the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general during the PML-N government in Punjab. The bureau had arrested Cheema in 2018 when he appeared before a joint investigation team in connection with the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme case.
Later, NAB initiated assets beyond means and other inquiries against him. However, Cheema obtained bail in three cases, including assets beyond means case in 2021.
Bilawal consults legal minds on ZAB reference
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday consulted legal minds of his party on the presidential reference case of his late grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
The development came during a meeting of central and provincial officials as well as legal experts of the Peoples Lawyers Forum (PLF) at Zardari House here. Bilawal chaired the meeting.
During the meeting, the PLF officials briefed Bilawal on the presidential reference case of ZAB. Farooq H Naik and Shahadat Awan participated in the meeting through video link while Qazi Bashir, Bahram Khan Tareen, Raheel Kamran Cheema, Sajid Tanoli, Gohar Rehman Khattak, Ghiyasul Haque and Asrar Abbasi were present.
Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Faisal Karim Kundi, Raza Rabbani and Amna Paracha were also present in the meeting.
Meanwhile, a civil society delegation also met with Bilawal and discussed the challenges faced by the masses and their solutions.
Bilawal appreciated the delegation for their services and performance in their respective fields.
Ahmed Faraz Khan Advocate, Barrister Saifullah Ghori, Bilal Tariq Khan, Dr Abdul Mohiman, Dr Maria Hamid, Dr Salma Malik, Faheem Sardar, Hafiz Muhammad Tahir, Huma Fawad, Jahanzeb Durrani and Kanwal Malik were among those who met the PPP chairman.
Lubna Bhayat, SM Tariq, Javed Akhtar, Pir Mohammad Anwar, Junaid, Raja Mohammad Khan, Sania Kamran, Shehbaz Zaheer, Shamamata Al Ambararbab, Buland Sohail, Kashaf Ahmed, Talha Rahmani, Osama Malik, Usman Iqbal Bandal and Yusuf Masih were part of the delegation. PPP Information Secretary Faisal Karim Kundi was also present on this occasion.
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