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Rahat says he is an Indian and will die an Indian

Rahat says he is an Indian and will  die an Indian

Author: Excelsior Special Correspondent
Publication: Daily Excelsior
Date: April 14, 2004
URL: http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/web1/04apr14/news.htm#3

Pak national disqualified from election

The Returning Officer today rejected the nomination of a Pakistani national Zulfikar Ali Rahat, who had filed his papers as a Samajwadi Janata Party candidate for Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha constituency going to polls on April 20.

Returning Officer for Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha seat and Deputy Commissioner Naveen Choudhary said Zulfikar Ali has been disqualified as his name was not in the electoral rolls.

Also, he added, Rahat was not an India citizen.

The Returning Officer's action came after the Election Commissioner of India this afternoon directed him for re-scrutiny of the nomination papers of Rahat after it was established that he was not a citizen of India.

The Returning Officer acted immediately and disqualified Rahat from contesting the election. With this, the number of contestants for Jammu- Poonch Lok Sabha seat has been reduced from 27 to 26. List of the candidates is being drawn again by the Returning Officer.

As reported, the Returning Officer had yesterday evening briefed the Election Commissioner of India and Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J&K, B L Nimesh after getting a report from DC Poonch that Rahat is not a citizen of India.

According to State Chief Electoral Officer B L Nimesh, one Mohammad Naseem Khan had lodged a complaint with him yesterday alleging that Zulfikar Ali was a Pakistani national and produced a copy of the electoral roll in support of his complaint.

The CEO immediately sought a report on it from Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, who after a probe submitted that Ali's name was not in the electoral roll and he was not a citizen of India.

The findings were forwarded to the RO, who on its basis sent his report to the Election Commission last night for necessary action.

The Election Commission directed the Returning Officer to re-scrutinise Ali's papers and if it was not found in order, to redraw list of contesting candidates.

Ali, who filed his papers as a candidate of the SJP headed by former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar, had in his nomination form mentioned his residential address in Salwa, a border hamlet in Mendhar tehsil of Poonch district.

Meanwhile, Zulfikar Ali has claimed that he was an Indian citizen and was staying at village Salwa, Mendhar in Poonch district for the last several year. He has also threatened to move to the Supreme Court against his disqualification.

"I was born in Salwa, had schooling in Government high school Salwa and then did PhD in Urdu from Mysore University. I also did a job in a private institute of Urdu at Calicut, Kerala", Zulfikar said while speaking to the mediapersons in the election office of Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP) at Janipura.

He claimed that Naseem Khan, who had complained to the Returning Officer about his citizenship, had a land dispute with him. He said he had 126 kanals of land at Salwa, Mendhar which Naseem wanted to grab.

Rahat claimed that he had four brothers, one of whom was working in Police department and posted in Reasi.

Reports, however, said that Zulfikar's father, Faqar Din had come to Jammu from Pakistan on a genuine passport and visa but didn't return. Faqar Din settled at Salwa, Mendhar and reportedly managed to get some certificates on the basis of which he was recruited in police. Later, he was removed from the force after it was confirmed that he was not an Indian citizen. Faqar Din is now dead.

Rahat said he was impressed with the policies and programmes of Samajwadi Janata Party president Chandershekhar and so he decided to join his party.

Disclosing that he was also running an Urdu weekly Al Rahat, Zulfikar declared that he was proud to be an Indian and would like to die as an Indian.

Meanwhile, Shamsher Singh Bhau, state president, SJP said today that it would be injustice with Rahat if his nomination papers are rejected. He said the party's state unit has informed SJP president Chandershekhar, former Prime Minister, on the allegations levelled against Rahat.

Meenu Jamwal, the Mahila wing president, also described Rahat as a "committed and dedicated" leader of the SJP. During 2002 Assembly elections, Rahat had whole heartedly convassed for Shamsher Singh Bhau, she said.

Rahat said he had also actively campaigned for National Conference candidate Javed Rana from Mendhar in the last Assembly poll.

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