Friday April 19, 2024

Imran allowed to contest polls from five constituencies

By Faisal Kamal Pasha
June 28, 2018

ISLAMABAD: An Election Tribunal (ET) comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here on Wednesday allowed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to contest elections from NA-53 Islamabad after Imran personally appeared before the ET and filled-in clause-N of the nomination papers as per the ET’s directions.

In this way, Imran Khan was declared eligible to contest the elections from all the five constituencies for which he had filed nomination papers.

ET accepted Khan’s appeal against rejection of his nomination papers by a returning officer (RO). In Clause-N of the affidavit that is regarding contribution of former MNA to his constituents, Imran Khan noted that he constructed the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, established NAML University in Mianwali and gave awareness to the general public regarding their legitimate rights.

An applicant Haroon Arshad Sheikh had raised objections to the tax details and assets of Imran Khan. At this, his counsel Babar Awan said that his client has attached with his nomination papers clearance from the Federal Board of Revenue. The ET, while accepting Imran’s appeal against rejection of his nomination papers, also rejected the objections raised by other appellants at his nomination papers.

Justice & Democratic Party (JDP), headed by former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, through its counsel Sheikh Ahsanuddin, advocate, had also raised the objection that an American court had ruled that Tyrian is Imran’s daughter. The PTI chairman never either denied or accepted the American court’s decision.

Later, Babar Awan, talking to the media, said that Imran Khan is going to contest this election from five constituencies. In Pakistan’s history, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for the first time had contested elections from five constituencies. He said that PTI will get 150 seats in the National Assembly and would also form its government in Sindh.

Meanwhile, an Election Tribunal (ET) comprising Justice Ibad-ur-Rehman Lodhi of the Lahore High Court (LHC) at the Rawalpindi Registry disqualified former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution for being not Sadiq & Ameen consequently, barring them to contest the elections.

The ET said that Shahid Khaqan had been the prime minister of this country and therefore he was the face of this nation that needs to be clean in order to earn respect from other nations. The ET said that the nations expect high moral standards from their leaders.

Legal counsel for the former premier Abbasi had contended before the ET that no person could be declared disqualified unless there is a declaration of any court of law under which a person can be declared as not qualified or not honest and Ameen.

The ET had reprimanded the Returning Officer (RO) from NA-57 Murree, Haider Ali Khan, for accepting the incomplete nomination forms of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and had also suspended him withdrawing his powers to act as an RO. In Wednesday’s order, the ET said that the same order will remain intact with directions to the Election Commission of Pakistan to appoint a new RO for NA-57 and start proceedings against Haider Ali Khan for his misconduct. The ET has directed the Registrar LHC, Rawalpindi bench, to initiate proceedings against Haider Ali Khan for misconduct. It said that the concept of free and fair elections cannot be achieved if such ROs would remain part of our system.

The ET in its order said the nomination papers of Shahid Khaqan were objected to by the appellant Masood Ahmad Abbasi mainly due to the reason that Shahid Khaqan concealed the real value of his assets. Appellant Abbasi had also contended that there is a marked difference between the two affidavits Shahid Khaqan filed with two separate nomination papers, one on June 9 and the other on June 11. Similarly, Shahid Khaqan tampered the contents of the affidavit, first filling in ‘None’ and later noting down shares in Air Blue and Pines Inn, Murree. The RO, appearing before the ET, had said that he had allowed Shahid Khaqan to correct the contents but he did not mention this in order sheet. The ET expressed its utter surprise that Shahid Khaqan has mentioned the cost of his F-7/2 house to the tune of Rs300,000 whereas he mortgaged the house for an amount of 24,702,741. The ET said that Shahid Khaqan did not disclose any details of his airline business and just mentioned his shares to the tune of Rs6 crores. Legal counsel for Shahid Khaqan had admitted the discrepancy in the two affidavits but urged the court to put off this matter for the election tribunal post elections.

The ET in its order said that they owe to this nation and they should keep reminding their oaths. The ET also scripted some part of the order in Urdu and said that it’s worrisome for the power wielders of the country that why the judiciary tries to protect the weak segments of this society. It is my wish that the under-privileged masses may have any source to express their miseries and afflictions.

The ET also rejected the nomination papers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry from NA-67, Jhelum, after the acceptance of his nomination papers was challenged by Syed Fakhar Haider, a candidate from the same constituency. The ET disqualified him under 62(1)(f).

The ET in its order said, “A candidate in requirement of Section 60(2)(b) of the election act 2017 is bound to file a declaration along with his nomination papers to the effect that he has opened an exclusive account with a scheduled bank for the purpose of election expenses. The respondent candidate has placed a certificate of Bank Alfalah but later it came to know that the said account was opened in 2013 on June 7, 2018 and the status of the account was dormant. No fresh account was opened in requirement of the law rather the candidate tried to deceive the scrutiny process by submitting a dormant account. Furthermore the candidate has not provided the cost of his assets."

The ET said that Fawad Chaudhry in the affidavit has mentioned his profession as advocate Supreme Court but in his income tax returns filed before the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for the year 2017, Chaudhry has mentioned his income as Rs9,600,000 on account of salary and did not mention from where this salary came from. If the candidate is deriving income from some other source than being a lawyer, it is against the law for a lawyer to adopt any other office of profit. In the affidavit, Chaudhry mentioned that in the years 2015, 2016 and 2017, he travelled abroad incurring expenses amounting Rs3,250,000 but these expenses are not mentioned in his tax returns. The ET said that the candidate Chaudhry has not only attempted to violate the statutory provision of Election Laws but also exposed himself to be declared as not sagacious, righteous and ameen person and this Tribunal, being a Court of Law, declares the candidature of respondent candidate void, attracting the provisions of the disqualification clause as provided under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and Section 62 of the Election Act, 2017.

The appellant alleged that the assets/income of Fawad Ch do not match with his stated sources of income. Fakhar also accused Fawad of concealing his real occupation and the money derived from it. According to the appellant, Fawad Ch has left the legal practice since long and now he is earning from journalism. Fawad Ch also did not provide details of his party ticket. In his address, Fawad Ch mentioned his house address as DHA and no more details are available. He also does not disclose that whether this house is owned by himself or by anyone of his wives among two or it is rented house. He also did not mention the tax details of his wives, if any. Furthermore his nomination papers are different from the one he submitted in the by-elections.

Meanwhile, the appellate election tribunal dismissed former Sindh minister for education and literacy Nisar Khuhro's nomination papers for PS-11 (Larkana II). Pakistan People’s Party had issued a party ticket for Khuhro for PS-11 constituency. Khuhro's nomination papers were rejected because he listed two wives and four children as his dependents, instead of three wives. The PPP leader failed to list a wife and a daughter as his dependents and did not mention 166 acre land in his nomination papers, the tribunal noted.

While reacting to this, Khuhro remarked that he would file an appeal against the decision of the tribunal. "I did not hide anything in the nomination papers," he added.

Meanwhile, an appellate tribunal on Monday rejected Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate Manzoor Wassan’s nomination papers for PS- 27, Khairpur. Mir Zaheer Talpur, a member of Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), had filed an appeal against Wassan’s nomination papers with the returning officer over undeclared assets in Dubai.