ISLAMABAD - The postponement of bye-elections in Dera Ghazi Khan, once again, have raised the doubts that the government is set to favour its candidate by using delaying tactics to garner maximum support for the National Assemblys seat. The Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday announced that Chief Election Commissioner postponed by-polls for two days in the National Assemblys constituency, NA 172, Dera Ghazi Khan II, on the request of National Crisis Management Cell, Ministry of Interior, due to apprehensions of sectarian terrorism on the eve of Urs celebration of Hazrat Sakhi Ahmed Sultan alias Sakhi Sarwar Lalan Wala that would be observed on March 24. The bye-polls that were scheduled on the same date would now be held on March 26 2011- a development that has not gone well with opposition circles. Close contest is expected between Pakistan Muslim (Quaid) candidate Awais Leghari, Pakistan Peoples Party contestant Shabbir Leghari and Hafiz Abdul Karim from Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in NA 172 bye-polls while the PML-Q candidate is rated favourite due to his familys strong vote bank and inherited political following in the same constituency. Talking to The Nation on Tuesday, PML-Q candidate Awais Leghari slammed the postponement of bye-polls in NA 172 saying that ECPs move did not make any sense. They should have known in the first place that Urs was scheduled for March 24. This is just a pre-planned measure to give more time to the PPP and PML-N candidates who know that their defeat is certain. The federal and provincial governments are exerting all-out pressure on the ECP to delay these polls on one pretext or the other, he said. Awais questioned the logic of postponing the polls for two days while Sakhi Ahmed Sultans Urs was celebrated throughout spring season in DG Khan. They fear sectarian violence for two days? What about the rest of spring season? These are just lame excuses. They have postponed these polls thrice and now they realise that there are threats of sectarian violence, he deplored. Awais said, due to these delaying tactics, the masses had lost confidence in electoral process. Earlier on March 3, Awais Leghari had feared foul play in NA 172 bye-polls, during a conversation with this scribe. He had voiced concerns that the bye-polls could be delayed to give 'breathing space to the ruling partys candidate. The PML-N candidate Hafiz Abdul Karim was contacted thrice at his cell phone on Tuesday when he was busy in his elections campaign. His comments could not be incorporated due to continuous distortion in the cellular network. The cell phone of PPP candidate Shabbir Leghari was switched off. His family members told The Nation that Leghari had gone to a mountainous area in his constituency where the cellular network was not operational, in connection with his elections campaign. The Nation on March 4 2011 had reported that opposition candidates in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assemblys electoral constituency PK-69 Tank and NA 172 DG Khan II have alleged foul play in both the bye-polls. Apart from Awais Leghari, senior JUI-F leader Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri had shared the concerns that bye-elections in Tank could be delayed further. In Tank, the bye-polls are scheduled on March 21 after being postponed for four times and JUI-F candidate Ghulam Qadir Bhittani is rated favourite.