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Court suspends verdict on expelling lawmakers from GB

GILGIT BALTISTAN: Gilgit Baltistan’s Supreme Appellate Court has suspended a verdict issued by the chief court directing lawmakers and federal ministers to leave the region and barring them from taking part in the election campaign.

Aper details, the Supreme Appellate Court’s judgment comes in wake of a writ petition filed by PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto over violation of the code of conduct ahead of the GB election.

As a result of the verdict, which was issued verbally today, members of Parliament will be able to stay in GB and participate in election campaigns until the case is wrapped up. The next hearing of the case is scheduled for November 12.

Earlier, the Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Court ordered federal ministers and government officials to leave the region in three days over violation of the code of conduct ahead of the upcoming polls.

The court also instructed the Chief Election Commissioner of GB Raja Shahbaz Khan, Chief Minister, and Chief Secretary to implement the decision immediately.

On November 7, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman had accused PM Imran and federal ministers of violating the code of conduct during their campaign and urged CEC to take notice.

She said that the prime minister and a federal minister are running the campaign of their party illegally in Gilgit-Baltistan, which is a clear violation of the code of conduct of the elections and pre-polling rigging.

She added that the ministers were addressing corner meetings and announcing development projects during their campaign – which are not allowed after the announcement of the election schedule.

Historic polls will be held in Gilgit-Baltistan on Nov 15. Election fever has reached its peak with all contesting parties and independent candidates campaigning enthusiastically.

Among the mainstream political parties, the PPP led by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was the first to kick off its campaign.

For these 24 seats, 548 candidates originally filed their papers. Of these, however, 218 later withdrew from the race.

A total of 330 people are now standing in the elections. The PML-Q is fielding candidates in 14 constituencies. And the PTI has issued party tickets to 22 people and expressed its support for Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen’s candidates in two constituencies.

The PPP, which suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the PML-N in 2015, announced candidates for all 24 constituencies.