KARACHI, July 27: Two Sheerazi brothers of Thatta on Saturday were disqualified by an Election Tribunal from contesting the upcoming by-election as they did not possess qualification of being honest and righteous under the constitution.
With these directions, the two-judge Election Tribunal headed by Justice Ghulam Sarwar Korai allowed two appeals of Shams-un-Nisa, wife of the late Abdul Hameed Memon, against the acceptance of the nomination papers of Syed Riaz Hussain Shah Sheerazi and his younger brother Syed Fayyaz Hussain Shah Sheerazi by the returning officer (RO) of NA-237, Thatta.
The appellant, who is a contestant in the upcoming by-election in Thatta, on Aug 22 submitted in her appeals that she filed objections against the candidature of the two Sheerazi brothers at the time of scrutiny of the nomination papers of the contesting candidates on July 16.The appellant, represented by Advocate Haq Nawaz Talpur, stated that the RO, however, accepted the nomination papers of the Sheerazis without proper application of his mind to the election rules and laws.
She said that the Election Commission of Pakistan rejected her objection without giving her a fair opportunity of hearing.
Her lawyer pointed out that the nomination papers of the Sheerazi brothers should have been rejected on the basis of giving a false declaration on oath about their age at the time of contesting general elections in 2008.
He submitted that the Sheerazi brothers filed their nomination papers and contested general elections of 2008 showing themselves to be of 25 years of age, which was false, incorrect and a wrong statement.
The appellant’s counsel said that Syed Riaz Hussain Shah Sheerazi and Syed Fayyaz Hussain Shah Sheerazi submitted applications for correction in their dates of birth from Jan 2, 1983 to July 10, 1979 and from Jan 6, 1985 to Jan 4, 1982, respectively, by suppressing their actual dates of birth.
Besides, Advocate Talpur said the two Sheerazi brothers had encroached upon the land belonging to the forest department. However, he said, the RO found no substance in the objections and accepted the nomination papers.
Advocate Talpur contended that both brothers were underage at the time of the 2008 general elections and their father, Syed Aijaz Ali Shah Sheerazi, was zila nazim who by suppressing his sons’ actual ages got them changed by unfair means.
He submitted that the respondent Sheerazi brothers could not be considered to be honest, righteous or Ameen as they also illegally occupied forest land.
The appellant’s counsel submitted that Riaz Sheerazi and Fayyaz Sheerazi did not possess qualification prescribed under Article 62 of the Constitution to become a member of parliament.
The counsel for the Sheerazis, Advocate Faisal Kamal, contended that correction in the dates of birth of the Sheerazi brothers was made by adopting the prescribed procedure and this was not challenged in any competent court of law.
He further contended that the chief conservator of the forest department in his report dated April 5 had reported that there was no encroachment undertaken by his clients in the Pinnah forest.
Advocate Kamal stated that the divisional forest officer in his letter dated July 4 wrongly showed Riaz Sheerazi and Fayyaz Sheerazi as encroachers of the forest land.
The respondents’ counsel lastly contended that the present Election Tribunal was not properly constituted as it was not consisting of three judges of the high court.
The Election Tribunal, however, ruled that the contention of the respondents’ lawyer on the constitution of the tribunal was without merit as under Subsection 5 of Section 14 of the Representation of the People’s Act 1976 an appeal against the decision of the RO shall be heard by the tribunal consisting of not less than two or more than three judges of the high court.
The court observed that it was the matter of record that the divisional forest officer, Thatta, wrote a letter to the area SSP on July 4 enclosing a list of persons who encroached upon the forest land and the list carried the names of Syed Riaz Hussain Shah Sheerazi.
“In the aforesaid facts and circumstances, it is clear and obvious that Respondent No 4 Syed Riaz Hussain Shah does not possess the qualification as set forth in Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution to contest the by-election 2013. Consequently, order of the Returning Officer dated July 17, 2013 accepting the nomination paper of Respondent No 4 is hereby set aside and appeal filed by Appellant No. 1 against Respondent No 4 is allowed.”
The tribunal gave an identical order in the appeal against Syed Fayyaz Hussain Shah Sheerazi on the same grounds and contentions.