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Tribunal suspends RO, summons ex-PM

Updated June 24, 2018

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

MURREE: The appellate tribunal of Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi of Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Saturday suspended the returning officer (RO) of NA-57 for accepting incomplete and alleged tampered documents submitted by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The nomination papers were challenged by a lawyer, Masood Abbasi, and PPP candidate Omer Abbasi for alleged forgery made in connivance with the RO concealing the factual value of assets owned by the former prime minister.

His lawyers Asad Iqbal Abbasi and Tahir Abbasi requested for adjournment which Justice Lodhi granted.

The nomination papers were challenged by a lawyer, Masood Abbasi, and PPP candidate Omer Abbasi for alleged forgery

The tribunal summoned Mr Abbasi in person or through his counsel along with the RO, Haider Ali, who is a sessions judge, on June 25. Till then, Mr Ali will remain suspended as the RO.

Masood Abbasi told Dawn that a number of controversial and objectionable changes had been made to the nomination papers in connivance with the RO.

He said the former prime minister had obtained two pieces of forest land on lease in Murree and Patriata during the first government of the PML-N in early 1990s.

As Patriata was not developed at that time, he allegedly occupied another piece of land in Murree in lieu of the one at Patriata.

Later, a hotel was constructed on the land in Murree in partnership with others.

He said the former prime minister did not fulfil the criterion of Sadiq and Ameen as mentioned in Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

The lawyer said Mr Abbasi showed the total value of his ancestral house in his native village Dewal as Rs100,000. Similarly, he stated the value of his house in Islamabad to be Rs0.3 million.

When contacted, Asad Abbasi Advocate, the president of PML-N Lawyers Forum Murree, who had submitted the former prime minister’s nomination papers, said two sets of nomination papers were filed and the lawyer who challenged the acceptance of the papers must have some misunderstanding which would be cleared in the appellate tribunal.

Mr Asad said there was a column in the nomination papers in which the value of the assets was to be shown according to its cost at the time of its purchase, not the present market value.

He said the former prime minister inherited his father’s house in Islamabad that was purchased in 1975 when the market value was the same as mentioned in the papers.

He said Mr Abbasi is a neat and clean politician and has been in politics since 1988 and was never involved in any unlawful acts.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2018