ISLAMABAD, Sept 26: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked an election tribunal to entertain and decide within eight weeks a disqualification plea against federal minister for labour, manpower and overseas Pakistanis Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and Justice Saiyed Saeed Ashhad was hearing a petition filed by Engineer Jameel Malik, a rival candidate from NA-53, Taxila.

He had challenged the election of the minister to the National Assembly before an election tribunal on the ground that he possessed a bogus educational certificate. The tribunal, however, refused to entertain the petition stating that there was no attestation by the oath commissioner on his affidavits.

Mr Malik then approached the Supreme Court on March 6, 2004, seeking a directive against the judge of the tribunal to hear his petition on merit.

Appearing before the apex court in person, the petitioner argued that the election tribunal had wrongfully dismissed his petition as his affidavit was duly signed and attested by an oath commissioner.

After hearing the arguments, the bench allowed his appeal and issued directives to the tribunal.

BAILABLE OFFENCES: The same bench again directed all sessions judges of the country to ensure bail process to all under-trial prisoners involved in bailable offences. The sessions judges were directed to ensure release of all accused in jail involved in bailable offences on personal surety bonds.

The bench was told by the advocates general that all UTPs involved in bailable offences had been released after the completion of bail process and presently there was no such UTP in any jail of the country.

The chief justice on March 30 had directed all courts seized with the cases of prisoners involved in bailable offences to dispose of such cases within two weeks or release the prisoners by granting them the right of bail in case of prolonged litigation.

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