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February 23, 2021

Appellate tribunal rejects nomination papers of PTI candidate for Senate technocrat seat


February 23, 2021

The Senate appellate tribunal at the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday rejected the nomination papers of a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate for the technocrat seats of the Senate from Sindh, observing that the candidate did not qualify to contest the Senate elections on a technocrat seat.

Appellant Ghulam Mustafa Memon had challenged the acceptance of nomination papers filed by PTI candidate Saifullah Abro for a technocrat seat. The counsel for the appellant, Rasheed A Razvi, submitted that the impugned order by the returning officer (RO) was untenable and liable to be set aside. He said that the respondent did not qualify within the statutory definition of technocrat and the only achievement of the respondent placed before the RO was a certificate issued to a firm for the completion of some projects and the same could not be considered as a national or international achievement of the respondent.

The respondent’s counsel, Haider Waheed, supported the RO order and submitted that the respondent had all the educational requirements and he had completed 13 projects within a period of 20 years and so he was qualified to contest the elections of senate on a technocrat seat.

The SHC’s appellate tribunal headed by Justice Agha Faisal after hearing the arguments of the case observed that even if the record of the respondent’s company which completed 13 projects were accepted, it was record of the entity itself and not a personal achievement of the respondent, and nothing had been articulated before the tribunal to suggest that the completion of those projects was an achievement of the respondent himself.

The tribunal observed that the completion of any project within the stipulated time was to be lawfully expected and mere compliance of contractual obligation by a third party could not be considered an achievement at the national or international level.

The tribunal observed that the acceptance of the nomination papers of the respondent by the RO was contrary to the law and rejected the acceptance of the nomination papers of the PTI candidate.

Plea against Vawda

The appellate tribunal issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and PTI candidate Faisal Vawda on an appeal against the acceptance of the nomination papers of Vawda in the forthcoming Senate elections.

The appellant, Qadir Khan Mandokhel, submitted in the petition that the acceptance of the nomination papers of Vawda, who is currently an MNA, by the RO was done without proper appreciation of facts and law.

The appellant submitted that Vawda had a misdeclaration in his nomination papers at the time of the 2018 general elections and so he could not be considered to be honest in terms of the Article 62 of the constitution.

The appellant argued that the nomination papers of the PTI leader should not have been entertained due to the reason that Vawda was still a member of the National Assembly and a sitting federal minister, and he could not apply or file his nomination form for the Senate unless he had submitted an application to forego his NA seat and/or his ministerial responsibilities.

The appellant submitted that his complaint against Vawda was pending before the ECP and Islamabad High Court for disqualifying him from the National Assembly as he had filed misdeclarations in his nomination forms for the 2018 general elections with regard to his properties, assets and dual nationality.

The high court was requested to reject the nomination form filed by Vawda and disqualify him from contesting the Senate polls. The tribunal also rejected the appeal against acceptance of the nomination papers of Pakistan Peoples Party leader Palwasha Khan in the Senate polls.

Appellant Mohhammad Aquib Rajpar had submitted that the vote of the petitioner was transferred to Sindh from Punjab and the same amounted to the usurpation of the representation of Sindh. The tribunal observed that the appeal was devoid of merit and dismissed the same.

The tribunal also rejected the appeals of Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Abdul Rauf Siddiqui and Syed Khizar Askar Zaidi and upheld the RO’s order with regard to the rejection of their nomination papers.