ISLAMABAD: The eligibility of defunct finance minister Ishaq Dar to hold a seat in the Senate has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

A petition seeking Mr Dar’s disqualification has been filed in the apex court by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate Nawazish Pirzada.

It requested the court to set aside the order of the Lahore High Court that had allowed the defunct minister to contest the Senate election.

On Feb 17, an appellate election tribunal of the LHC granted Mr Dar permission to contest the Senate election, setting aside an order of the returning officer (RO) who had rejected his nomination papers.

On March 3, Mr Dar won a Senate seat as an independent candidate backed by the Pakistan Mu­s­lim League-Nawaz. The petition contends that an abs­conder cannot contest elections.

It may be mentioned that Mr Dar has been declared proclaimed offender by an accountability court of Islama­bad as the defunct minister has left the country for cardiac treatment and not returned yet.

“The apex court has categorically declared that a fugitive from law loses his normal rights granted under the substantive as well as procedural laws,” reads the petition.

“The impugned order may very kindly be set-aside, resultantly the nomination papers of the respondent no. 4 [Ishaq Dar] from the seat of Technocrat, province of Punjab, Senate Elections 2018, may very kindly be rejected and election of the respondent no. 4 may be declared void and set aside,” the petition states.

Earlier, the Election Commission of Pakistan had rejected Mr Dar’s nomination papers because he had been declared an absconder in the assets reference.

The Supreme Court had on April 20, 2017 formed a six-member JIT to probe then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his family members as well as Mr Dar. The JIT completed the investigation and submitted its report to the SC on July 10. The apex court had on July 28 directed NAB to file the reference in the accountability court.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2018

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