LAHORE: A full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday allowed Maulana Mohammed Ahmad Ludhianvi, emir of the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), to contest by-election from PP-78 (Jhang).
The bench headed by Justice Shahid Jamil Khan issued the interim order on a petition of Mr Ludhianvi challenging a decision of a two-judge bench that had disqualified him from contesting the by-poll.
Extending the interim relief to Mr Ludhianvi on the grounds to be announced later, the bench issued notices to the respondents of the case and fixed Dec 14 for further hearing.
The Punjab Assembly’s constituency had fallen vacant after the Supreme Court disqualified Rashida Yaqoob of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) for concealing assets while upholding a decision of an election tribunal in October. She was elected to the assembly in the 2013 general elections and runner-up candidate Mr Ludhianvi had challenged her election.
Then the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that it would hold by-poll in the constituency on Dec 1 for which Mr Ludhianvi as well as Ms Yaqoob also filed their nomination papers. However, this time Ms Yaqoob was an independent candidate.
The PML-N gave its ticket to Sheikh Sheraz Akram. On a petition filed by him, the two-judge bench on Nov 11 restrained both Ms Yaqoob and Mr Ludhianvi from contesting the by-poll.
Mr Akram had argued that the name of Mr Ludhianvi was included in a list of fourth-schedule and more than a dozen criminal cases were registered against him.
He had also pointed out discrepancy in details of the assets provided by Mr Ludhianvi to the ECP in connection with the 2013 general elections and the upcoming by-poll.
At a later stage, Mr Akram withdrew his candidature and was replaced by Haji Azad Nasir Ansari as PML-N candidate.
Mr Ludhianvi had challenged the decision contending that FIRs registered against him were not in his knowledge when he filed his nomination papers. He had requested the court to allow him to contest the by-poll and set aside the two-judge bench’s decision.
Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2016