KARACHI: The Election Tribunal in Karachi on Monday declared the election of a member of the national assembly void and held that the winning candidate was not sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and Ameen.
The runner-up, a candidate of the Pakistan Peoples Party, was declared to have won the NA-211, a National Assembly seat in Naushahro Feroze.
The victory of Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, a sitting federal minster, was challenged by Zulfiqar Ali Behan of the PPP who had lost the seat to the winning candidate with a margin of 6,622 votes.
Mr Jatoi, who had secured 83,960 votes, was the fourth lawmaker in the row whose election was declared void by the election tribunal, headed by Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan Sherwani, a former judge of the Sindh High Court.
On Aug 8, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Syed Hafeezuddin who had defeated JI leader Abdur Razzaq with a margin of 4,472 votes became the third member of the provincial assembly whose election was declared void by the election tribunal in Karachi.
Earlier, the tribunal had declared void the election of PPP MPA Ghulam Qadir Chandio to PS-27 (Nawabshah), because he held a fake Master’s degree. On July 26, it had proclaimed the election in PS-114, a provincial assembly seat won by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate Irfanullah Marwat, void on account of corrupt practices committed by the winning candidate.
In his election petition, Mr Behan against the winning candidate alleged that the returned candidate was not qualified to be parliament member under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution as he was not sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and Ameen.
The petitioner submitted that Mr Jatoi had falsely claimed himself to be a graduate and also failed to disclose his assets and liabilitiesas required under Section 12 of the People’s Representation Act by hiding the fact that he and his wife were shareholders in Moro Textile Mill.
He also alleged that the returned candidate failed to provide information as provided under Sections 12(2)(a),(c)(d)(e) and (f) of the Act and also defaulter in payment of wealth tax as well as agriculture income tax and other taxes.
The petitioner submitted that in the 2008 general elections, he had raised similar objections and filed a petition against Mr Jatoi but it was dismissed on May 16, 2013 after the completion of the tenure of the National Assembly. However, he said, an appeal was preferred against the judgement before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
He also alleged commission of corrupt and illegal practices against him during the elections at 97 polling stations.
The petitioner said that the returned candidate, his agents and workers abducted his polling agents from the polling stations, captured some of the polling stations harassed his voters by firing to refrain them from casting their votes and other similar acts in this regard.
He alleged that mass rigging was committed by them in connivance of the polling staff and prayed to the court to declare that the election of the returned candidate was void and the petitioner was a returned candidate or declare the election as a whole void.
In its judgement, the bench observed: “In this case also, the returned candidate who had claimed to be a graduate during the 2002 elections but he was not found as such therefore he was disqualified under Article 62 of the Constitution which disqualification is permanent in nature which could not be vanished if he has passed B.A examination thereafter.”
The tribunal allowed the petition of PPP candidate and concluded: “The election of the returned candidate is declared void under Section 68(b) and the petitioner is declared as returned candidate under Section 69 of the Act. The Election Commission of Pakistan may be informed accordingly to issue such notification in the official gazette.”
Published in Dawn, August 12th , 2014