PESHAWAR: Setting aside an order of the relevant returning officer, an election appellate tribunal on Friday rejected the nomination papers of a top candidate of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Ayesha Bibi, for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s reserved seats for women in tribal merged districts.
The tribunal head, Peshawar High Court Justice Mussarat Hilali, accepted an appeal of another PTI candidate, Mehreen Rauf Afridi, and declared that Ayesha Bibi was not qualified to contest election for that seat as she was not a voter in any of the tribal merged districts.
The tribunal announced its short order after the completion of arguments by all parties.
The detailed judgment will be released later.
Declares Ayesha Bibi can’t contest poll as her vote not registered in tribal districts
Ayesha Bibi was mentioned in Serial No 1 of the PTI’s priority list of candidates for the reserved seats, while appellant Mehreen Rauf Afridi is in Serial No 3.
The name of Wafa Wazir is mentioned in Serial No 2 but she is out of contest as she didn’t file nomination papers for election.
The appellant had challenged the acceptance of nomination papers of Ayesha Bibi by the returning officer on Aug 28 and had prayed the court to set aside the order of the returning officer and reject her nomination papers.
The returning officer had issued a public notice on Aug 21 for the filling of two seats reserved for women from the erstwhile Fata in KP Assembly.
In light of the number of general seats won by political parties in the July 20 elections in ex-Fata, the ECP has already allotted the said two seats to the PTI and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and had directed the two parties to produce their respective priority lists of candidates until Aug 26.
According to the number of general seats won by a political party in the July 20 provincial assembly polls in erstwhile Fata, two of the four women reserved seats were allotted to PTI and one each to Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and BAP.
However, as the PTI had earlier given only name of Aneeta Mehsud and BAP had not submitted any priority list, two of the seats had remained vacant for which the schedule for fresh election was issued by the ECP.
Fazal Shah Mohmand, lawyer for the appellant, said only the candidates registered as voters in the merged tribal districts were eligible to contest poll for the two seats.
He claimed that Ayesha Bibi on the date of filing of her nomination papers was not a registered voter in any of the tribal districts and that she obtained her voter certificate on Aug 28 though there was ban on registration of new voters.
The lawyer said the respondent was not qualified to contest that election for not being a registered voter in merged districts but even then, her nomination papers were accepted.
The lawyer for Ayesha Bibi said his client had submitted Form 21 for the registration of vote to the ECP on Aug 16 well in time before imposition of ban on Aug 19.
Meanwhile, the ECP has issued a notification modifying election schedule, which declares the revised list of candidates for the two reserved seats will be published on Sept 16 after which nomination papers can be withdrawn by candidates on Sept 17. The list of contesting candidates will be released on Sept 18.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2019