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Thursday July 25, 2024

PTI plea against rigging in Islamabad’s NA constituencies: Tribunal tells PMLN candidates to file affidavits

Tribunal also fined PMLN MNAs Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Raja Khurram Nawaz for not filing comments on petitions

By Asim Javed
July 09, 2024
Security personnel stand guard at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on September 21, 2023. — AFP
Security personnel stand guard at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on September 21, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Election Tribunal’s Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri ordered the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s successful candidates to submit affidavits on the petitions of PTI candidates against the alleged rigging in the three constituencies of the National Assembly in the federal capital.

The tribunal also imposed a fine on PMLN MNAs Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Raja Khurram Nawaz of Rs20,000 each for not filing comments on the petitions.Justice Jahangiri remarked that if there is a delay in filing comments, a fine of Rs100,000 will be imposed. The tribunal observed that it is a basic rule and asked if anyone has any objection to this rule.

The Judge of the election tribunal directed the petitioners’ counsel to read Rule 144 of the Election Act, upon which the petitioners’ counsel read the process of the tribunal written in the Election Act.

Justice Jahangiri observed that the counsel should take note of all these things mentioned in the Act as how we should proceed. The tribunal observed that it was mentioned that if the winning candidate delays the hearing, the tribunal will issue a show-cause notice by suspending his membership within 15 days and accordingly the trial is to be conducted on a day-to-day basis and a decision is to be made within 180 days, whereby the parties are bound to file their replies within seven days.

The tribunal observed that under Section 147 an affidavit must be submitted along with the statement. It observed that if anyone has any objection, let it be clear as the tribunal will hear the petition on a day-to-day basis. The tribunal turned down the request of a counsel who appeared on behalf of Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, observing that his power has not been filed on behalf of his client; therefore, his objection cannot be heard at this moment.

Justice Jahangiri asked the successful candidates of the PML-N to submit their affidavits before the next hearing.During the hearing on the application of Amir Masood Mughal, Anjum Aqeel Khan’s lawyer said that the application against the notification has been filed on time, and the objection is that notices were not issued to all the candidates. Justice Jahangiri observed that it would be better if those who are raising objections file an application and after this the tribunal will seek response from the other side.

The counsel submitted that they have not received the notice. The tribunal inquired whether replies from returning officer and the ECP have been filed and if they submitted all the forms. It observed that three applications will be heard daily but each constituency will be heard separately.

The lawyer said that he has submitted all the forms in his reply. The tribunal imposed a fine on MNA Raja Khurrum Nawaz of Rs20,000 and directed him to submit Forms 45,46 and 47 before the tribunal within three days.

The tribunal observed that the respondent had to comply the orders of the tribunal. The counsel of ECP submitted that tribunal first examine as whether the petitions are maintainable or not.

The counsel for Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry withdrew the power on behalf of the MNA. The tribunal also imposed a Rs20,000 fine on Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and directed him to file an affidavit within one day.

Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said that he has to engage a lawyer to defend the case and since there is a lot of record, some more time be granted to submit the reply.The tribunal adjourned the hearing of the case against the alleged rigging in the constituencies of NA-46 to July 11, NA-47 to July 10, while the hearing of the case against the alleged rigging in constituency NA-48 was postponed to July 9.