- Mirpur RO confiscates Rs390,000 given by Ali Amin Gandapur to PTI’s Chaudhry Rasib.
- Rasib admits to taking the money; stresses that PTI candidate Azhar Sadiq had nothing to do with the episode.
- AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider demands PTI candidate be disqualified for violation of code of conduct by Gandapur and Gandapur be banned from campaigning.
PTI member Chaudhry Rasib on Saturday admitted to receiving money from Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur during the party’s campaign for the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election, prompting the returning officer for Mirpur to seize the cash.
Returning Officer Mirpur Dadyal Raja Shamriz presided over a hearing in the matter of the distribution of money by Gandapur, a video of which was circulated on social media.
Rasib admitted that he had received Rs390,000 from the federal minister but said that PTI candidate Azhar Sadiq, who is contesting the elections. had nothing to do with the incident.
The RO confiscated the money, declared the Assembly candidate innocent and sent a detailed report on the matter to the AJK Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), retired Justice Abdul Rashid Sulehria.
On the other hand, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider said that the Gandapur video proves a violation of the code of conduct, so Sadiq should be disqualified.
He also demanded that Gandapur be banned from participating in the election campaign.
PPP Azad Kashmir President Chaudhry Latif Akbar also said that the incident is a test case for the Election Commission, and that Sadiq should be disqualified and Gandapur banned from the election campaign.
AJK CEC writes to PM after Ali Amin Gandapur seen donating cash
A day earlier, the AJK CEC had written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, requesting him to ensure that ministers observe the code of conduct set for the July 25 elections.
Sulehria requested PM Khan to issue directives are issued in writing to the federal government ministers who are participating in the election, as well as to the provincial government, to ensure that no individual violates the code of conduct specified by the AJK government.
“It is important to mention that violation of any provision of Code of Conduct by any person during election campaign of a candidate may end up [in] disqualification of the candidate concerned,” read the letter.
CEC apprises PM of code of conduct
Sulehria also wrote a separate letter to the premier to apprise him of the code of conduct itself.
“Let me take this opportunity to appraise your good self that AJK Election Commission has promulgated a Code of Conduct 2021 for strict observance by all political parties, candidates and polling staff who are deputed for administration of election process in order to ensure that elections are conducted fairly, justly and in most transparent manner in all respects without causing any intimidation or coercion upon the free exercise of right of franchise by the electors,” the letter begins by saying.
The letter goes on to state that the code “strongly prohibits any kind of pronouncement in terms of financial or development package or any kind of attraction by political parties, contesting candidates and their sympathisers to secure favour from electors for any contesting candidate except their party manifesto”.
Sulehria said that the request is made “to ensure that the AJK General Elections […] be conducted in a transparent and independent manner without causing any blame for the misuse of state resources by holders of public office”.
Gandapur donates cash
A video began circulating on social media this week showing Gandapur handing over a thick bundle of cash to some supporters in AJK’s LA-1 Mirpur 1 constituency where he had gone to campaign.
Some people had gathered around Gandapur to complain to him of a badly damaged road. They told him that they are looking to repair it with whatever meagre funds they can scrounge up on their own. At this, the minister immediately handed them a donation, which was recorded on video.
Gandapur also said that he is ready to provide further financial assistance and promised the people that the next time he visits the area, the road would have been repaired.
There were also reports of other ministers making promises of various schemes in other constituencies during their respective campaigns.