KARACHI, March 28: The Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan and other respondents to file comments on a petition against the ECP order declaring Abdul Qayyum Soomro ineligible for a technocrats seat in the senate.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam also issued notices to provincial and federal law officers, and adjourned the hearing to April 3.

The petitioner, represented by Advocate Farooq H. Naek, submitted that he was elected senator from Sindh, replacing Dr Hafeez Sheikh, on a technocrats seat.

He submitted that he was highly qualified and eligible for holding the senate seat as a technocrat as he had served for 21 years in the medical field and achieved various goals.

His counsel submitted that Mr Soomro had filed nomination papers on March 7 as a candidate for technocrats seat reserved for the province.

He said his client appeared before the returning officer and later he was declared a validly nominated candidate for the seat and accordingly his nomination form was accepted.

The counsel said Mr Soomro was declared senator unopposed as no other candidate had filed nomination papers for the seat.

However, he said, later a citizen from Punjab, Tariq Ahmed, filed an application telling the ECP that Mr Soomro did not qualify as a technocrat as he had not unveiled his source of income and tax documents.

Subsequently, Advocate Naek said, the ECP stayed the notification of his client as a senator and initiated proceedings against him.He said that according to election laws, a technocrat was “A person who is the holder of a degree requiring conclusion of at least 16 years of education, recognised by University Grant Commission, including record of achievement at national and international levels”.

The counsel stated that although his client fell in the category of technocrats as per law, he was disqualified for the senate seat.

The petitioner requested the court to declare the order of the ECP unlawful and set it aside.

Naushahro Feroze delimitation case A division bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqir directed the ECP to decide the issue of delimitation of Naushahro Feroze’s National Assembly and provincial assembly constituencies in the light of the proposals submitted by the ECP committee on delimitation.

The bench gave these directions while hearing a contempt of court application against the chief election commission and the provincial election commissioner for flouting the court’s earlier order on the issue.

The court had directed the ECP for delimitation of all national as well as provincial constituencies of Naushahro Feroze in identical petitions filed by Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah and Syed Mureed Ali Shah, seeking delimitation of Naushahro Feroze’s constituencies on a population basis. It had also disposed of the petition.

Applicant Syed Mureed Ali Shah submitted that on March 3, the ECP in its reply had submitted that it would form a committee for delimitation of Naushahro Feroze’s five provincial assembly and two NA constituencies and the committee would submit the proposals before the ECP within seven days.

He said the court had disposed of the petition by directing the ECP to complete the exercise of delimitation in time.

The applicant contended that the committee on delimitation of constituencies submitted its proposals before the commission, but a notification was not issued deliberately.

The court disposed of the application directing the ECP to decide the matter and the place its decision before the court on April 2.

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