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LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed a petition of former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq and set aside a 2015 order for re-poll in his constituency NA-125 (now NA-131) by an election tribunal.

Through a short order announced at the Lahore registry, a two-judge bench comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik allowed the petition of the PML-N leader filed back in 2015.

The court had reserved its verdict on March 19.

Runner-up candidate of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Hamid Khan had challenged the victory of Saad Rafiq in 2013 general polls before the election tribunal on charges of massive rigging by the PML-N.

The tribunal had in 2015 declared the result of the election null and void with a direction to the election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold fresh polls in the constituency within 60 days. However, Mr Rafiq challenged the decision before the Supreme Court and got it suspended.

As per the new delimitation by the ECP for 2018 general election, the constituency NA-125 is now NA-131 from where PTI Chairman Imran Khan is contesting the polls against Mr Rafiq.

Aleem’s candidature: The Lahore High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition challenging the candidature of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Abdul Aleem Khan from NA-129, Lahore.

Iftikhar Mazhar, assistant director of the Old Age Benefit Institution, filed the petition pleading that the PTI leader was a defaulter of the institution to the tune of Rs9.7 million. He said Aleem Khan failed to pay payments from March 2010 to May 2018.

The petitioner said the objection was raised before the returning officer and the appellate tribunals but both forums ignored the fact and accepted the nomination papers of Mr Khan.

He asked the court to set aside the impugned decisions and reject nomination papers of the PTI leader.

However, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza dismissed the petition for being not maintainable.

A full bench headed by Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh reserved verdict on multiple identical petitions on a point whether a voter could become proposer or seconder to a candidate from other constituency.

Several candidates had filed the petitions against the rejection of their nomination papers by returning officers on the basis of having proposers and seconders outside their respective constituencies.

Besides challenging the decisions of the ROs, the petitioners sought a direction for the Election Commission of Pakistan to allow them an opportunity to file their nomination papers a fresh.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018