The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) categorically stated Wednesday that the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) candidates cannot contest the upcoming by-election under the party’s banner.
The decision from the commission came a few hours after the government banned the religious party following the party’s protests all over the country, that caused three people to die and over 100 police officers were left injured.
It is pertinent to mention here this instruction will be applicable on the NA-249 by-election — scheduled for April 29.
During the general elections 2018, of the 340,000 registered voters, the winner, Vawda, only secured 35,344 votes, the runner-up got 34,625 votes, while TLP bagged 23,981 ballots. MQM-P got only 13,534, and PPP’s Syed Attaullah Subhan got 10,307 votes.
The TLP had nominated Mufti Nazeer Kamalvi as its candidate for the NA-249 by-poll, and after the ban, sources said the candidate will not be able to contest the elections on the “crane” symbol.
“It has been decided to stop the printing of ballot papers till the situation becomes clear; however, the candidate can contest elections independently,” sources added.
In an important development that took place earlier in the day, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed had said the federal government had decided to impose a ban on the TLP under the anti-terrorism law.
“We are forwarding a summary to the federal cabinet to impose a ban on the TLP,” Rasheed said in Islamabad, as protests were held across various cities of the country.
Protests by the religious party have caused problems for the masses in major cities across the country for the past two days and have claimed the lives of three people, including two policemen. Nearly 100 policemen have also been injured in clashes with the protesters.
Speaking about the TLP’s negotiations, Rasheed said the government wanted to table a resolution in the National Assembly and wanted to form a consensus on it but they (TLP) insisted on marching to the Faizabad Interchange.
“Our efforts to convince them failed. As far as the matter of Khatam-e-Nabwat is concerned, I am ready to give my life,” declared the minister.
He said miscreants had snatched a rifle from a police officer and used it to fire at others in one of the protests.
The minister defended the government, saying it intended to honour the agreement made with the TLP earlier.
Regarding the FIRs filed against protesters, Rasheed said they were all filed in accordance with the law.
“I have never supported this party nor had ever met Khadim Hussain Rizvi (former TLP chief),” the minister said, adding the ban has been imposed due to TLP’s “character” and not due to any any political compulsion.