Azad Kashmir CEC orders fresh inquiry against federal minister

MUZAFFARABAD: The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) retired Justice Abdul Rashid Sulehria on Tuesday rejected an inquiry report by the returning officer (RO) of LA-1, Mirpur-I on the issue of grant of cash by federal minister Ali Ameen Gandapur to a PTI activist at an election related event in Dadyal and ordered him to resubmit a fresh inquiry after identifying the culpable as well as the beneficiary in the matter.

Without taking any name, he also declared that proper proceedings should be initiated against the minister in the police station [concerned] and confiscated money be made its part as an evidence.

On July 4, Mr Gandapur had attended an event in Ganhair village on the outskirts of Dadyal where he had given some cash to one Chaudhry Rasib, a local PTI activist, for repair, for the time being, of some badly damaged portions of a link road in the presence of PTI candidate Chaudhry Azhar Sadiq.

After the video clip of the happening went viral on social media, PML-N lodged a complaint with RO Raja Shamraiz for action against both Mr Sadiq and Mr Gandapur.

In response to a show cause notice served by the RO, both Mr Sadiq and Mr Rasib appeared before him on two consecutive days on Thursday and Friday last to record their statements wherein they pleaded not guilty.

Mr Rasib informed the RO that the federal minister was known to him for a long time and had visited Ganhair on his request because he wanted his help for repair of the rundown link road.

Continuing, he had informed the RO that the minister had given him just Rs390,000 from his pocket and not Rs500,000 as claimed by many on social media and that Mr Sadiq had nothing to do with it.

The RO had confiscated the amount in favour of the government and submitted a detailed report to the EC.

Speaking to Dawn on Friday evening, the RO had maintained that since the complainant from the PML-N could not establish involvement of Mr Sadiq in this affair, he had given him a warning to ensure observance of the code of conduct in future.

However, in an official communication addressed to the commission’s secretary Sardar Ghazanfar, the CEC not only found faults with the RO’s report but also rejected it outright.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2021


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