KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday questioned the maintainability of a petition filed by Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) seeking disqualification of Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and directed his lawyer to produce an order of the apex court.

The two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Shafi Siddiqui observed that the lawyer for the petitioner has not assisted it as the controversy involved in the subject matter has already been decided by the Supreme Court.

The bench directed the counsel for petitioner to place on record the judgement of apex court and thereafter it will pass an order regarding the maintainability of the petition.

The opposition leader in his petition contended that the SC had disqualified Mr Shah and others in September 2012 in dual nationality case and directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to initiate legal proceedings against them for filing misdeclaration.

The petitioner further argued that in the light of apex court order ECP had asked all the MPAs of Sindh Assembly to submit the declaration on oath forms, but instead of submitting such form Mr Shah tendered his resignation in November 2012 and the speaker had accepted it on the same day.

Thereafter, he asserted that Mr Shah had contested the by-election from the same constituency (PS-73 Jamshoro-cum-Dadu) in 2013 and in his nomination form he declared that he did not possess any citizenship of any other country and also submitted a copy of application to renounce Canadian citizenship.

The petitioner further alleged that the incumbent chief minister had contended and won the by-election on the basis of false affidavit and in the 2013 general elections he also allegedly provided incorrect information in nomination papers and the returning officer rejected the same and RO’s order was upheld by an election tribunal. But the SHC had allowed a constitutional petition of Mr Shah to contest election.

The petitioner maintained that an appeal was filed before the SC against the SHC’s order and the apex court had allowed the same. He asked the SHC to declare the chief minister ineligible for holding membership of the provincial assembly by declaring the notification of the ECP as null and void.

It may be recalled that an identical petition was already pending before the SHC against the chief minister in which a regular litigant submitted that the apex court had disqualified Mr Shah and others in a dual nationality case, but with the alleged help/connivance of the ECP he contested the by-election and general elections 2013 and 2018.

In the last hearing, the ECP had informed the SHC that an application seeking disqualification of Mr Shah was pending before it as it was waiting for the decision of the SHC on criminal appeals involving an identical matter.

The ECP submitted that the ECP and the petitioner in the present case had filed criminal appeals against the acquittal of Mr Shah in 2014 and the same was pending before the SHC while a review petition on a similar issue was also pending before the apex court.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2021

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