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January 9, 2015

Election tribunal restrained from passing final order


January 9, 2015

The Sindh High Court on Thursday restrained the election tribunal from passing the final order in the petition against Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah over alleged rigging in the PS-29 Khairpur constituency during the 2013 general elections.
The interim order came on a petition filed by Shah, who had challenged the chief election commissioner’s order that had rejected transferring his case from the election tribunal in Karachi.
The election commissioner had rejected the transfer application on the grounds of biasness, observing that the apprehension of the petitioner was unfounded.
The election results of PS-29 had been challenged by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Syed Ghous Ali Shah.
The CM had submitted in the petition that the presiding officer of the election tribunal, Justice (retd) Zafar Ahmed Khan Sherwani, had in bad faith mentioned his name in another matter of the NA-215 Khairpur constituency and showed biasness towards him.
The petitioner’s counsel, Farooq H Naek, submitted that after the passage of the 18th amendment the word “commissioner” was substituted with “commission” under Article 219 of the constitution and transfer of power now fell under the commission instead of the commissioner.
He argued that the chief election commissioner had no authority to dismiss the transfer application on his own in the absence of four other members of the commission.
The court was requested to set aside the chief election commissioner’s order and restrain the election tribunal from deciding the case of the petitioner until the decision of the petition.
Shah’s counsel Aslam Bhutta, who challenged the election result before the election tribunal, submitted that no election to the house or the provincial assembly should be called in question except by the election petition presented to the election tribunal. He asked the court to dismiss the petition as not maintainable.
The Election Commission of

Pakistan’s law officer sought time to file comments on behalf of the commission and the chief election commissioner.
A division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar observed that the issue whereby the chief election commissioner could decide the transfer application on his own in case an interim order was passed by the commission required consideration. He directed the commission’s officials to file comments on the petition.
The court by consent adjourned the hearing of the case for January 16 and directed the election tribunal not to pass the final order in the matter until the next date of hearing.
The court directed the office to constitute a special bench to hear the case that was partially heard subject to the approval of the chief justice of the high court.

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