LAHORE - The Lahore High Court Wednesday ordered the District Coordination Officer and Returning Officer of Mandi Bahauddin to decide whether the PML-N candidate should hold public meeting first at Quaid-e-Azam ground or his rival candidate of Jamat-i-Islami.

By-polls of NA-108, the seat vacated after the disqualification of PTI leader Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhary for having fake degree, to be held on June 8. Riaz Farooq Sahi, the candidate of Jamat-i-Islami, filed a petition alleging that the ruling party was involved in pre-poll rigging and the local bureaucracy was also backing its candidate.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan of the LHC heard the case and directed the DCO and RO to decide whether the PML-N leader should hold public meeting or his rival candidate of Jamat-i-Islami first in NA-108 and disposed of the petition.

The judge ordered to fax the order to both of the officials to communicate them timely as the meeting had to be held on June 5, tomorrow. On May 25, the petitioner said, he approached the district coordination officer to seek permission to hold public meeting at Quaid-e-Azam ground.

He said the DCO accepted his request and forwarded it to police officials who also gave approval of his meeting at the said ground for June 5.  The petitioner said DCO later told him that Mumtaz Tarar of PML-N had filed an application before him and he was entitled to hold public meeting first.

The petitioner alleged DCO committed forgery in the record as he produced a fake application of his rival candidate. He said the bureaucracy was backing the PML-N candidate which was tantamount to pre-poll rigging.

The petitioner beseeched the judge to order the Election Commission of Pakistan to take notice of this pre-poll rigging and hold free and fair election.

Public meeting was his right as he had approached DCO Office first before his rival candidate. After hearing the arguments, Justice Ijazul Ahsan ordered DCO and RO to decide the matter immediately and disposed of the petition.