Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday challenged a returning officer's (RO) decision to reject his nomination papers to contest the election for Islamabad's NA-53 constituency on technical grounds.

Advocate Babar Awan filed the appeal against the RO's verdict before an appellate tribunal of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) after deliberations with the PTI chief.

According to PTI's Central Media Department, the appeal asks the court to set aside the RO's decision, which it claims was based on "whimsical and unfounded grounds". It also addressed the technical faults in the nomination papers that the RO cited as grounds for rejection.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Mohammad Adnan Khan had on Tuesday rejected the nomination papers of four candidates, including Khan, for NA-53, because they had not filled up “Clause N” of the affidavit in which they were required to mention “contribution” to their respective constituencies during their previous tenure as lawmakers.

Awan has stated in the appeal that the RO's decision to reject Khan's papers is "against all norms of justice and fair play" because his client "neither concealed nor wrongly declared any facts".

The PTI chief has been rendering "unmatched" services as a philanthropist in the areas of cancer treatment and higher education, "but in [a] personal capacity", the appeal further stated.

According to the petition, Khan is ready and willing to rectify the shortcomings in his nomination papers by filling an "otherwise small required entry" in Clause N of the affidavit.

"The RO's verdict has resulted in a miscarriage of justice because instead of issuing a show cause notice to the appellant, he chose to reject his nomination papers," the appeal claimed while requesting the court to nullify the order.

Khan had served as an MNA from NA-56 Rawalpindi between 2013 and 2018. There had been resentment in his constituency as he allegedly never visited it during his five-year term despite living in Banigala only a few kilometres away. Khan has decided not to contest the election from the same constituency this time and opted for standing from Islamabad instead.

Despite the rejection of the PTI chief’s papers on technical grounds in two constituencies, NA-95 (Mianwali) and NA-53 (Islamabad), Khan is still left with three constituencies — NA-35 (Bannu), NA-131 (Lahore) and NA-243 (Karachi) — to run for the general elections.

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