The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday filed an application with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Karachi, seeking the disqualification of PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari for concealing his assets.
According to the application filed by PTI Sindh MPA Khurram Sherzaman with the Provincial Election Commissioner, Zardari had failed to declare an apartment he allegedly owns in Belaire Condominiums located at 524 East 72nd Street, New York, New York, United States of America, in his nomination form for the 2018 general elections.
The PPP leader is a member of the National Assembly from NA-213, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sindh.
"Because of this act of his, Mr Asif Ali Zardari under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Rules of the Election Commission of Pakistan, ... as per past precedent, should be disqualified from holding public office under Article 62 (1)(f), as in my opinion he ceases to be truthful and sagacious," says the application.
Editorial: Zardari’s oblique warning
Sherzaman in his letter said he was attaching documents of the property in question along with Zardari's Form B, "which shows that he did not declare this property".
A document submitted with the application and obtained by Dawn shows Asif Ali Zardari as having an address at 524 East 72nd Street, New York, New York. A second document purports to show that one Ms Mehreen Shah was granted the power of attorney for the condo unit by Zardari. The veracity of the documents could not be independently confirmed.
"This serious violation of the law needs to be examined by you since Mr Zardari is a former president of Pakistan and co-chairs one of the major political parties of this country," the application read.
The PTI lawmaker urged the ECP to investigate the matter, "and if proven true and accurate", disqualify and deseat Zardari as an MNA under Article 62 (1)(f).
I request you to investigate this matter and if proven true and accurate, take the appropriate action, which is disqualification/de-seating from the National Assembly as prescribed by the law and Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution.
Although Provincial Election Commissioner Muhammad Yousaf Khan Khattak reluctantly accepted the application filed by Sherzaman, he informed the PTI MPA that any action on the petition would be taken by the ECP's Islamabad headquarters.
Speaking to reporters outside the ECP office, Sherzaman said they also wanted the National Accountability Bureau to investigate the means used to allegedly purchase the New York property by Zardari.
Answering a question regarding the evidence submitted by him, the MPA said information regarding the ownership of properties in the United States could "very easily" be obtained online.
"Now it is Asif Ali Zardari sahib's responsibility to prove us wrong," he declared.
PPP to file disqualification petitions against PM, Vawda
Also on Thursday, the PPP filed applications in the ECP's Islamabad office seeking details of assets of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda.
After a PPP delegation met with the ECP secretary, party leader Farhatullah Babar told reporters they had asked the commission to provide details of assets submitted by the premier for all elections he has contested in the past.
"The money trail of Imran Khan's properties is suspect," Babar alleged, adding that his party will prove that Khan holds undeclared properties abroad.
The PPP has also submitted applications in concerned institutions to seek details of assets owned by the prime minister's sister, Aleema Khan, and of business interests of Jahangir Tareen, a senior PTI leader.
He said the PPP will file a disqualification reference against Khan and others "based on the evidence we are gathering".
"We want everyone in the government and the opposition to be held accountable under the same law," Babar said, adding that the PPP will face all cases against it through legal channels.
With additional reporting by Fahad Chaudhry in Islamabad.