LHC suspends appellate tribunal's disqualification verdict against PTI's Fawad Chaudhry

Published June 28, 2018
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry speaks to media outside LHC. — Courtesy author
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry speaks to media outside LHC. — Courtesy author

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday suspended a verdict of an appellate tribunal that had barred Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry for life from contesting elections.

A two-member LHC bench, headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, suspended the tribunal's verdict and sought a response on the matter from the federal government as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan on July 3.

Chaudhry is, therefore, eligible to contest elections from NA-67 (Jhelum) unless the court decides to uphold the tribunal's verdict in future hearings.

While speaking to media personnel after the hearing, Chaudhry said that the LHC's decision had "upheld justice" and thanked the court for allowing him to contest elections.

"The happiness of all those people who were celebrating my disqualification has been destroyed in less than 24 hours," the PTI spokesperson added.

A day earlier, the appellate tribunal at the Rawalpindi bench of the LHC had not only barred Chaudhry from contesting the upcoming elections, but also disqualified him for life for being dishonest and sagacious.

The tribunal had said in its decision that Chaudhry was guilty of trying to "deceive the scrutiny process" by submitting details of a bank account that was "dormant" and failing to "provide the cost of his assets".

Furthermore, the had tribunal claimed that the PTI leader had not declared the source of his 2017 income, which amounted to Rs9,600,000 according to his income tax returns that he had filed along with his nomination papers.

Chaudhry's affidavit also mentioned that he had travelled abroad in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and incurred expenses amounting to Rs3,250,000, however, the amount was not mentioned in his tax returns.

Chaudhry, in his appeal filed in the LHC, argued that the tribunal had "rejected his nomination papers without considering the facts".

He also claimed that he had attached a copy certified by the Federal Board of Revenue along with his nomination papers but the tribunal had ignored it.

Abbasi files appeal against tribunal's decision

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also filed an appeal today against the same tribunal's verdict barring him from contesting the upcoming elections and disqualifying him for life for being "dishonest".

According to the petition, a tribunal can only accept or reject nomination papers of election candidates and did not have the authority to disqualify anyone. The petition requested the LHC to set aside the verdict since it was "not in alliance with facts".

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