GUJRAT: The ruling PML-N suffered a ‘big blow’ as the Lahore High Court on Tuesday restrained its potential candidate for the mayor slot of Gujrat Municipal Corporation Haji Nasir Mehmood from contesting the local bodies elections for the union council chairman.

Umar Sajid of PML-Q, a rival candidate for urban UC 3, had filed an appeal with the LHC against the acceptance of the nomination papers of Mr. Mehmood first by the returning officer and then rejection of his appeal by the appellant authority, an additional sessions judge of Gujrat.

The petitioner in his appeal filed with the LHC said Haji Nasir had already been disqualified as member of the Punjab Assembly by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for presenting a fake graduation degree back in February 2010 and even in 2013 general elections.

Court bars mayor slot hopeful from contest

The petitioner said the court had stopped Mr. Mehmood from contesting the general elections on the basis of his earlier disqualification and keeping in view the superior court’s verdict, the latter should not be allowed to run for a public office. Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan of the LHC accepted the plea and barred the PML-N leader from contesting the elections.

PML-N MPA Imran Zafar, who is also the nephew of Haji Nasir, told Dawn by telephone that the party would challenge the LHC verdict in the Supreme Court.

The ruling party had already declared Haji Nasir Mehmood, the district general secretary of PML-N, as its candidate for the slot of mayor.

Political analysts say just at a time when electioneering is at its peak, the party’s campaign, which was also being run by Mr. Mehmood in the entire 12 urban UCs, may suffer a major blow.

Haji Nasir had started his political career by getting himself elected as UC Nazim in 2001 defeating the PML-Q nominee. In the 2008 general elections, he made it to the Punjab Assembly from Gujrat city (PP-111) on PML-N ticket and defeated PPP stalwart Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar and former education minister Mian Imran Masood of PML-Q.

However, his graduation degree was challenged by Imran Masood in the election tribunal of the LHC that had declared the former disqualified after the degree was proved fake whereas the Supreme Court had also upheld the tribunal’s decision.

By-elections were held for PP-111 in March 2010 and Imran Zafar, nephew of Mr. Mehmood, won the slot. In 2013, he again bagged the seat defeating Imran Masood.

A source in PML-N says Majid Humayun, another nephew of Haji Nasir, was a covering candidate for chairman slot from the same UC 3 of the city and if the disqualified man could not get any relief, Mr. Humayun will be the contender but the covering candidate could not get party’s election symbol ‘lion’ which might make the difference.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play