PESHAWAR, April 30: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday upheld disqualification of two former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lawmakers and dismissed pleas against several former members of the provincial assembly.
A four-member bench headed by Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan dismissed a petition filed by former MPA Malik Imran against the rejection of his nomination papers by the returning officer for PK-75, Lakki Marwat and the subsequent upholding of the same order by an election appellate tribunal.
His nomination papers were rejected on the ground that he was earlier disqualified by the Peshawar High Court for possessing a forged degree and that the judgment was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The petitioner said the Supreme Court had dismissed his appeal due to non-prosecution and that since the condition of graduation was no longer applicable in the elections, he should be permitted to contest polls.
The bench observed that it had examined the record and the orders of the returning officer and the tribunal but didn’t find any illegality in those orders.
It also dismissed a petition of former MPA from Swabi, Sardar Ali, whose nomination papers were rejected by the returning officer for possessing a fake graduation degree and his subsequent conviction by a court and the sentence of three years imprisonment.
The petitioner’s lawyer said his client’s conviction was suspended by the high court and was released on bail.
He said his client’s conviction was no longer applicable and therefore, on that ground, he could not be disqualified.
The bench ruled that under the Constitution, once a person was sentenced to more than two years of imprisonment, he stood disqualified from becoming a lawmaker.
The petition of a PPP candidate, Kifayatullah Khan, against former provincial minister Syed Aqil Shah was dismissed by the bench.
The petitioner said papers of Mr Shah were rejected by the returning officer as he was convicted for possessing a fake graduation degree and was sentenced to one-year imprisonment for corrupt practices. He, however, said the appellate tribunal set aside that order.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Qazi Jawad Ahsanullah, said the Higher Education Commission and the Election Commission of Pakistan had declared that the degree submitted by Mr Shah in the 2008 elections was fake and that the Supreme Court in a related judgment clearly pronounced that a person submitting a forged or fake degree could not be declared righteous and honest.
The bench ruled that Mr Shah was convicted for less than two years imprisonment and therefore, he could contest elections under the Constitution.
Moreover, the bench dismissed two petitions of independent candidate Farooq Shah challenging candidature of former chief minister Pir Sabir Shah and ex-MPA Faisal Zaman for PK-52, Haripur.
The petitioner said Mr Sabir Shah had concealed his assets and certain bank accounts and that Faisal Zaman had possessed a fake degree and on the basis of that degree, he was elected MPA in 2002.
The bench ruled that the petitioner could not produce evidence in support of his contentions.
Another petition dismissed by the bench was filed by former provincial minister Namroze Khan against acceptance of nomination papers of ex-MNA Zareen Gul for PK-56, Torghar.
The petitioner’s lawyer said Mr Gul had submitted a fake degree during the 2002 elections and had produced a fresh graduation degree for contesting the May 11 elections.
The bench observed that the petitioner could not produce evidence to show that the said degree was forged.
Also, the bench rejected petitions of two candidates on seats reserved for minorities in the provincial assembly, Shakeel Chandar and Ranjeet Singh, who had respectively challenged candidature of two other candidates, Azeem Ghauri and Yousaf George.Both the petitioners alleged that Azeem Ghauri and Yousaf George had produced forged degrees to contest the last elections.
However, the two rejected the allegations, saying they had not contested the last elections.
The bench also rejected the plea of Mohammad Tahir, who claimed that former Haripur district nazim Yousaf Ayub, who is a candidate for PK-50, Haripur, were rejected by the returning officer but the same were again accepted by the appellate tribunal.The petitioner said in the 2002 elections, Yousaf Ayub had shown himself as a graduate but later claimed to have an intermediate degree and therefore, he had given a false declaration.
He requested the bench to disqualify Mr Yousaf Ayub on that basis.
However, his plea was turned down.