A plea seeking the disqualification of PML-N leader Ishaq Dar has been withdrawn from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after the petitioner said he would approach a higher forum to pursue the case.
Advocate Azhar Siddique had filed a plea with the ECP earlier this year seeking disqualification of Dar.
“It is respectfully submitted that I want to withdraw present petition with permission to file fresh if so needed. As the ECP is not a court and interpretation is involved in this case in view of judgments of the Supreme Court dated PLD 2018 SC 189, 2015 SCMR 1303, 2021 SCMR 1675, PLD 2018 Sindh 263, we may file an alternate remedy as well,” the petitioner said in his handwritten statement to the ECP.
Siddique’s assistant counsel, Muhammad Shoaib, told the ECP that his client will approach a higher forum for further pursuance of the case.
The ECP directed him to submit a written statement, which was later submitted before the electoral body.
A day ago, the ECP reserved the verdict on a petition seeking to declare Dar’s Senate seat as ‘vacant’ over his failure to take the oath as Senator since March 2018.
Under an ordinance, promulgated by the president, the seat of a lawmaker would be deemed to have become vacant if the member failed to take oath within 60 days, an ECP member earlier observed at the hearing.
Dar returned to Pakistan on Monday night after a self-exile of nearly five years amid several speculations.
Dar’s return had been under speculation for months with certain top members of the PML-N — like Maryam Nawaz and Javed Latif — on several occasions publicly attacking and disowning former finance minister Miftah Ismail’s policies, in particular, the inevitable reversal of the costly fuel subsidy introduced by the previous PTI government.
Dar had also overtly challenged Ismail and undermined his decision-making over the past months.
Last week, an accountability court suspended an outstanding arrest warrant against Dar, paving the way for the former finance minister’s return from London.
Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir issued a suspension order for a perpetual warrant of arrest against Dar, which was issued on December 11, 2017, after he absconded from an assets-beyond-means case. The warrants were suspended until October 7, giving the senator-elect a fortnight to surrender to the law.
Dar was elected to the upper house of the parliament on a technocrat seat in the elections held on March 3, which was notified by the ECP on March 9, 2018 under Section 124 of the Elections Act, 2017.
Just a day before his election, a legal challenge to his nomination for the Senate seat was dismissed by a division bench of the Lahore High Court(LHC). However, the decision was challenged before the Supreme Court and on May 8, it suspended the notification.
Three years later, an ordinance was promulgated, as the then government attempted to get Shaukat Tarin elected as senator on Dar’s seat. Under the ordinance, which was promulgated on Sept 2, 2021 and lapsed in January 2022, if a member willfully fails to take oath, his seat will be deemed to be vacant.
Dar, in a letter to the ECP on Sept 29, 2021, stated he had not taken the oath as a Senate member, nor was he in a position to take it due to the Supreme Court order that suspended the notification of his election on May 8, 2018 and the ECP’s subsequent order of June 29, 2018 in this regard.
However, the apex court through its order on Dec 21, 2021 dismissed the civil appeal leading to the suspension of the notification. Subsequently, the ECP on Jan 10 also restored the notification dated March 9, 2018 through which Mr Dar was declared returned candidate to the Senate.
Finally, Dar in February wrote to the Senate chairman asking him to virtually administer the oath in the wake of restoration of his election notification, but his request was turned down.