The Election Commission ordered on Friday the release of two independent candidates contesting the elections in the merged districts. The polls have been scheduled for July 20.
A petition was submitted on Thursday asking the electoral body to take notice of the arrest of candidates of KP-113 and KP-114. Muhammad Arif Wazir and Muhammad Iqbal Masud have been arrested under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance for a month. They have been accused of “delivering speeches and raising slogans against the security of Pakistan” and are currently in jails in Dera Ismail Khan and Haripur, the petition said.
The MPO was promulgated by the governor of West Pakistan on December 2, 1960. At that time, General Ayub Khan had imposed martial law. The controversial law has since been regularly used by different governments.
They were not arrested when the warrants were issued but arrested after the election schedule was announced, noted ECP Chairperson Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza.”It is a clear indication of helping the remaining candidates in the constituency and also is tantamount to pre-poll rigging,” he said.
The electoral body has ordered for their arrest warrants to be withdrawn within 24 hours.
People from 16 constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s merged districts will vote in the upcoming elections. A total of 1,943 polling stations have been established.
The tribal areas were merged with KP on May 31, 2018.