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Tribunal rejects petition seeking PM's disqualification from NA-95, declares it non-maintainable

December 06, 2018


The tribunal rejected the petition on the basis of being non-maintainable. —PID/File
The tribunal rejected the petition on the basis of being non-maintainable. —PID/File

An election tribunal of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday rejected an election petition challenging the victory of Prime Minister Imran Khan in the July 25 general elections from NA-95, Mianwali.

The tribunal rejected the petition on the basis of being "non-maintainable".

Abdul Wahab of the Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party, a defeated candidate from NA-95, had challenged the election of PM Khan, accusing him of concealing mandatory details, mainly about his children, in the nomination papers.

On Nov 8, the LHC election tribunal reserved its verdict on the maintainability of the petition before which the counsel for the petitioner and Imran Khan concluded their arguments on the "point of maintainability" before the tribunal comprising Justice Shahid Waheed.

Objecting to the maintainability of the election petition, Advocate Babar Awan had argued on behalf of the premier that many legal formalities were not followed before filing the petition. He had said the petition should be dismissed for being time-barred as it was filed after the stipulated time limit of 45 days after the announcement of the election result.

Moreover, he had said the affidavits attached with the petition were attested by an oath commissioner of Islamabad, instead of someone from Lahore.

The counsel had further argued that Imran Khan furnished complete details of his and his dependents’ properties in the nomination papers. He had urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for being not maintainable.

Responding to the objections raised by the premier's counsel, the petitioner’s counsel Mobeenuddin Qazi had contended that the petitioner was a lawyer of Supreme Court based in Islamabad and the head office of his party was also registered in the federal capital. Therefore, he had said, the objection to the oath commissioner of Islamabad had no value in the eye of law.

He had further said that the petition was filed well within the 45-day time limit. He had pointed out that the time limit started from the day of issuance of gazette notification of the election results by the Election Commission of Pakistan, which, he had said, was issued on Aug 28.

Advocate Qazi had argued that the SC had ruled on a number of occasions that the technicalities should not be given preference on the merits of a case. However, he had said that the Election Rules 2017 provided for seven-days time to remove technical shortcomings, if any, in the petition.

In his election petition, Abdul Wahab had submitted that under section 60(2)(d) of Election Act, 2017 a candidate had to furnish a statement of his assets and liabilities and of his spouse and dependent children. However, he had said, PM Khan failed to disclose details of properties owned by his wife, two sons and ‘daughter’ Tyrian Jade Khan White.

The petitioner had stated that the respondent had not made a truthful declaration in his nomination papers as well as in the affidavit to the effect that Tyrian Jade Khan White was his daughter.

He had said that the respondent stood disqualified under Article 62(1)(d), (e) and (f) and Article 63(1) (o) and (p) of the Constitution. He had urged the tribunal that the election of the prime minister, as returned candidate, be declared as void and had said that the nomination of the respondent was also invalid.

He further had asked the tribunal to de-notify the respondent as a member of the National Assembly and declare the seat as vacant, besides issuing directions to the ECP for initiating appropriate proceedings against him.