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PESHAWAR: Two election appellate tribunals here disposed of more than 50 appeals during the last three days against different orders of the returning officers regarding the acceptance or rejection of nomination papers of candidates for the July 25 general elections.

The tribunal of Justice Syed Afsar Shah heard 38 appeals related to general seats of KP and Justice Mussarat Hilali’s 13 on general and reserved seats of Fata.

The tribunals had begun hearing appeals on June 25, while Wednesday was the last day to decide them. The tribunal of Justice Afsar Shah turned down the plea of the returning officer of NA-25 Nowshera against former MNA Siraj Mohammad Khan.

Of them, 38 were about KP general seats, 13 about Fata general, reserved seats

The returning officer had contended that he had received a report from the Federal Investigation Agency, which declared that Siraj Mohammad held dual nationality.

Mr Siraj said he was a Pakistani and UK national as the same time but had surrendered his nationality before the 2013 general elections.

He said the same objection was raised before the previous elections, too, but the Peshawar High Court had decided the matter in his favour.

The appellant said he had contested the elections later and became MNA in 2013.

The tribunal also dismissed an appeal of the National Telecommunication Corporation against Peshawar district nazim Mohammad Asim claiming that he was a defaulter of Rs18,056.

Mr Asim said wondered how an appeal could be filed against him when he was not even contesting the elections.

The tribunal also accepted two appeals of the candidates, whose nomination papers were rejected by the relevant returning officers on the ground that they were having outstanding dues of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited.

One of the appellants, Abdul Aziz, has been contesting election in PK-83 Hangu, while the other, Abdul Haq, is a candidate for PK-63 Nowshera seat.

The SNGPL had claimed that Abdul Aziz was the owner of a CNG station and there was Rs63.86 million outstanding against it.

It also claimed that Abdul Haq was the owner of a CNG station against which Rs94.51 million was outstanding.

Saleem Shah Hoti was the lawyer for Abdul Aziz and Syed Taimur Shah for Abdul Haq.

The counsel said there was a dispute between the All Pakistan CNG Association and the SNGPL over the payment of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess.

They said the cess in question was challenged in the superior courts and the issue was decided in favour of their clients.

The counsel said amendments were made to the relevant law through the GIDC (Amendment) Act, 2018, which was enforced on June 2.

They said the Act clearly mentioned that the outstanding cess from a CNG station should be recovered in two installments provided that the first installment should be recovered within a month and second within three months of the enforcement of the law.

The counsel wondered how the returning officers could call them defaulters when that period of one month had yet to pass.

The tribunal also accepted the appeal of Khidtmathgar Qaumi Jirga candidate Arbab Sheharyar, whose nomination papers were rejected by the returning officer for PK-66, Peshawar.

His lawyer said an objection was raised that during the days fixed for issuance and submission of nomination papers, the appellant was in Saudi Arabia to perform Umra and therefore, the signatures on his nomination papers were fake.

He added that the appellant had given the power of attorney to his agent for filing nomination papers on his behalf.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2018