ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented decision, an election tribunal in Rawalpindi on Wednesday disqualified former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from contesting the upcoming elections declaring that he is not Sadiq (truthful) and Ameen (trustworthy).
A single-judge bench, in its written order, noted that Abbasi was “guilty of concealment of facts and withholding of complete information from his voters”.
Declaring that he is not ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’, the tribunal stated that Abbasi was “not a qualified person to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament) within the meaning of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of Pakistan”.
“Responding to the submissions of learned counsel for respondent that 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, I declare that this tribunal constituted under the statutory provisions of a federal statue is a court of law and after declaring that Abbasi being guilty of concealment of facts and withholding of the complete information from his voters is not an honest and ameen person and after such declaration, declare him as not a qualified person to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament) within the meaning of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of Pakistan,” Justice Ibadur Rehman said in his judgement.
The tribunal’s decision can be challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC) and Supreme Court.
Agencies add: Justice Abdul Rehman Lodhi of the Lahore High Court (LHC) announced the verdict on an appeal challenging a Returning Officer’s decision to approve the nomination papers of the PML-N stalwart.
His papers were challenged by Syed Haider Abbas. The applicant had accused Abbasi of understating his assets and also tampering with the nomination papers.
Abbasi is in the run for two National Assembly seats NA-53 Islamabad and NA-57 Murree.
A day earlier, an appellate tribunal in Islamabad set aside a ruling of the Returning Officer concerned to reject nomination papers of the former prime minister for NA-53 Islamabad, allowing him to contest the polls.
The tribunal comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani gave this verdict on an appeal filed by the PML-N stalwart challenging the RO verdict of rejecting his nomination papers.
On June 19, the RO rejected the former premier’s nomination papers on the ground that he submitted an incomplete affidavit along with the nomination papers.
Abbasi along with his counsel appeared before the tribunal and contended that the RO rejected his nomination form because it was incomplete.
In doing so, the RO went beyond his jurisdiction, the lawyer argued and pleaded that his client be allowed to run in the upcoming general elections.
Earlier, Abbasi submitted in the appeal that the returning officer’s order is against the law and liable to be set aside as per the election act.
He said the RO cannot reject a nomination form owing to an objection that is not substantial in nature.
Talking to media, ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that he accepts appellate tribunal’s verdict, however, he would file an appeal challenging the ruling of the tribunal. “I have not concealed any information,” he said and added the allegations against him for hiding information are false.
Speaking to a private TV channel legal experts stressed that the appellant tribunal can only accept and reject nominations. They claimed that the tribunal has exceeded its jurisdiction with the judgment.
The appellant tribunal, headed by Justice Lodhi of the LHC, also rejected nomination papers of PML-N candidate Azhar Kiyani, PTI nominees Fawad Chaudhry for NA-67 (Jhelum-II) and Sardar Ghulam Abbas for NA-64 (Chakwal-I).
The decision came on appeals filed by the candidates’ rivals, challenging returning officers’ decision of accepting the nomination papers.
PML-N heavyweights, including former premier Abbasi, former foreign minister Khawaja Asif and Sardar Mehtab Abbasi were cleared for the general elections on Tuesday.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Information Secretary Fawad Chaudhry suffered a setback on Wednesday when an appellate tribunal rejected his nomination papers for NA-67 Jhelum.
The tribunal allowed an appeal filed by Justice and Democratic Party’s Fakhar Abbas Kazmi challenging a returning officer’s decision to accept the papers of the PTI leader.
The appellant alleged that Chaudhry did not pay tax on agricultural holdings and that his name on computerised national identity card was Fawad Ahmed.
He pleaded that the PTI candidate, therefore, be restrained from running for a NA seat in Jhelum.
Reacting to the rejection of his papers, the PTI leader said he need not fret about this decision, which he said is aimed at hurting his election campaign.
He claimed he had received a message advising him against holding a press conference against former chief justice of Pakistan and Justice Democratic Party head Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
In a presser a couple of days ago, the PTI spokesperson had accused the former top judge of serving the agenda of the Sharif family after the latter raised the Sita White issue.
Earlier, the former chief justice in an interview had claimed that he has evidence to show that Khan has admitted to being the father of Tyrian White while abroad, but denies the same in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the Election Tribunal on Wednesday cleared Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to contest polls from NA-53 (Islamabad).
Earlier today, Imran appeared before the appallent tribunal after two no-shows to complete his nomination form for NA-53 (Islamabad). The returning officer (RO) had rejected Imran’s nomination papers on technical grounds that the candidate did not fill “Clause N” of the affidavit.
Clause N of the affidavit is required to mention ‘contribution’ of former legislators made to their respective constituencies during their previous tenure.
His lawyer, Advocate Babar Awan, had filed the appeal against the RO’s decision before an appellant tribunal chaired by Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani of Islamabad High Court (IHC). However, Imran failed to show up before the tribunal twice. In the last hearing, Justice Kiyani had insisted that he appear in person.
On Wednesday, the PTI chief appeared before the bench along with his lawyer to fill out “Clause N” of the form in which he mentioned Namal University, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and “encouraging the masses to struggle for their constitutional rights.”
Shortly after submitting the completed forms, the former cricketer left from the back door without speaking to the media.