RAWALPINDI: Ayaz Amir and Faisal Saleh Hayat, two members of the erstwhile National Assembly who were casualties of articles 62 and 63 of the constitution, got back into the electoral race on Wednesday when election tribunals upheld their appeals against the returning officers’ decision of rejecting their nomination papers.

A two-judge tribunal, which consisted of Justice Rauf Ahmad Sheikh and Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh of the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench, allowed columnist and PML-N leader Ayaz Amir to contest election from NA 60, Chakwal.

An election tribunal in Multan, comprising Justice Ijaz Ahmad and Justice Ibadur Rehman, accepted the nomination papers of former federal minister Faisal Saleh Hayat as well as his rival, Syed Abid Imam.

The LHC judges said in the order that Ayaz Amir’s opponents were unable to prove the allegations levelled against him. While rejecting the nomination papers, the returning officer in Chakwal decreed that Ayaz Amir had flouted the ‘ideology of Pakistan’ in one of his columns.

Salman Akram Raja, Amir’s counsel, contended that his English-language article had been misinterpreted when it was reproduced with an Urdu translation.

The counsel argued that the article was not against Islamic law and if for the sake of argument somebody said that he had some particular ideology three to four years ago it did not make any sense because it could be changed.

Later talking to journalists, Ayaz Amir said he believed that parliament had wasted five years because it did not even discuss any amendment to articles 62 and 63. “These articles are very ambiguous and I don’t know what restrained the parliament from taking up the matter.”

Salman Raja said freedom of expression was guaranteed in the constitution and condemning someone on the basis of his ideas was not the right attitude.

Talking to media, complainant Nayyer Abbas Awan said he would file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the tribunal’s decision. He alleged that Mr Amir had admitted in his columns that he was a drinker and also spoke in favour of lifting of a ban on sale of liquor. “He is also against the ideology of Pakistan,” Mr Awan alleged.

Our Staff Correspondent in Multan adds: An election tribunal in Multan accepted the nomination papers of former federal minister Faisal Saleh Hayat and his rival Abid Imam, and allowed them to contest the elections.

Abid Imam is a son of Syeda Abida Hussain and Syed Fakhar Imam, a former speaker of the National Assembly.

The allegation against Mr Hayat was that he was involved in theft of irrigation water and three cases were registered against him.

Abid Imam was accused of defaulting on bank loans totalling Rs2.1 million. His counsel presented a clearance certificate to the tribunal.

Faisal Saleh Hayat, who won the 2008 election on a PML-Q ticket, has filed his papers this time as an independent candidate from NA 87, a constituency comprising areas of Chiniot and Jhang.

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