LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday disposed of a petition of a US national Pakistani citizen and directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to decide within 30 days an application of the petitioner seeking disqualification of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

Syed Iqtidar Shah, the petitioner, sought the disqualification of Mr Bilawal, also the chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), for alleged violation of the Election Act 2017.

The petitioner submitted that the election law did not allow any political party to use the election symbol of any other party. However, he said, Bilawal Bhutto used the symbol of PPP-Parliamentarian, headed by former president Asif Ali Zardari, on the flags and manifesto of the PPP.

He said the respondent contested the last general election on the ticket of PPP-Parliamentarian despite being a head of another party. He said the act of the respondent was a violation of section 215 (3) of the Election Act 2017.

The petitioner said an application to declare Bilawal disqualified to hold any public office was pending with the ECP for a long time. He asked the court to order the ECP to decide his application.

Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza disposed of the petition and directed the ECP to decide the application of the petitioner preferably within 30 days.

Mr Shah used to file petitions for disqualification of politicians and rulers. In the past he also sought disqualification of Mr Zardari on the same grounds. He has also been fined by the court for filing frivolous petitions.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2022

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