By Khajuria S. Kant
The detection of a Pakistani national who had made a successful attempt in filling the nomination to the coming Lok Sabha elections from Jammu-Poonch constituency, has exposed the state government´s criminal negligence.
Zulfikar Ali Rahat, who had filed his nomination papers as a Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP) candidate headed by former Prime Minister Chandershekhar, was confirmed as a Pakistani national after inquiries were conducted into his credentials following receipt of a complaint by the Returning Officer.
The Returning Officer (Naveen Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu,) referred the complaint to Altaf Hussain, Deputy Commissioner, Poonch since Zulfikar Ali had mentioned the address of Salwa, Mendhar in Poonch district in his nomination form. The Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, after verifications, submitted his report to the Returning Officer, confirming that Zulfikar Ali Rahat was a Pakistani national.
The 29-year old Rahat had also managed to get his name inducted in the voter´s list from Salwa, according to the official version. But as a glaring lapse on the part of the district administration, Zulfikar´s name did not figure in the electoral rolls of 1996, 1998, 2002 and he managed to get his paper scrutinised on the basis of the electoral rolls of 1995, of which the copy was produced before the Returning Officer.
It was Nayeem Khan, a native of the village Salwa in Mendhar tehsil of Poonch district, who complained to the Returning Officer on April 12 that Zulfikar has manipulated his papers. Soon after this complaint, the Returning Officer initiated action and the authorities in Delhi were alerted.
The Election Commission on the next day met and first decided to get the papers re-scrutinised and then it announced the cancellation of the nomination papers.
The inquiries in this matter have revealed that Zulfikar´s father, Fakrudeen had migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and returned in 1983, soon after the Resettlement Act was passed. He managed to get his property restored and joined the police service as a constable. But he was dismissed for his links with the militants. His brother Iftikhar is said to be still in the police service.