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The Lahore High Court building.— File Photo.

LAHORE: A Lahore High Court full bench on Tuesday conditionally allowed all such candidates to contest the upcoming general election who were earlier disqualified for being agricultural income tax defaulters.

The bench passed this order hearing a writ petition filed by former federal minister Rana Farooq Saeed Khan against rejection of his nomination papers by returning officer and election tribunal from NA-79, Faisalabad.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan was heading the bench with Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi as its members.

During the course of hearing the bench was surprised to learn that the Board of Revenue (BoR) had not been recovering tax on agricultural income.

The bench remarked that how a person could be barred from participating in election for being an agricultural income tax defaulter if the department concerned was not recovering the same.

Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar, counsel for the former minister, told the bench there were two kinds of the agricultural tax -- on land and on income. He pointed out that the BoR recovered tax on agricultural land only and not on the income.

When asked by the bench, a BoR representative failed to give any satisfactory answer to its queries on the matter.

Besides giving relief to Saeed Khan, the bench issuing a general order conditionally allowed all such candidates to contest the polls who were disqualified for being agricultural income tax defaulter and directed the BoR to submit detailed record and the tax recovery mechanism on Wednesday (today).

The bench also accepted a writ petition of a former MPA of PPP, Aslam Midhyana, and allowed him to contest the May 11 polls.

The PP-31 (Sargodha) RO had rejected Midhyana’s nomination papers and an LHC election tribunal also dismissed his appeal. Midhyana was accused of being involved in dozens of criminal cases and water theft.

Midhyana through his counsel pleaded that he was not convicted in any case registered against him. He said in most of the cases he had been acquitted while the remaining ones were pending adjudication before courts.

A schoolteacher, Nafees Ahmad, had raised objections on the candidature of Midhyana. The former MPA was also accused of torturing the schoolteacher and fracturing his legs.

The counsel for the teacher pointed out that Midhyana had submitted a financial penalty in the case pertaining to canal water theft. He said the financial penalty was tantamount to conviction.

Midhyana’s counsel, however, argued the penalty was deposited under protest and an appeal against the same was pending before the court concerned.

The bench, after hearing both sides, allowed Midhyana’s petition.