KARACHI/PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD: In a major relief to the embattled PTI, scores of its aspirants, notably Imran Khan’s ‘No. 2’ Shah Mehmood Qureshi, were cleared to take part in the Feb 8 polls by various election tribunals (ET), on Friday.

In Karachi, the appellate tribunal overturned decisions of returning officers (RO) against Mr Qureshi (NA-214, Tharparkar), the party’s Sindh president Haleem Adil Sheikh (NA-238, Karachi East-IV) and two other candidates.

The appeal of another aspirant Arsalan Khalid (NA-248, Karachi Central-II) was also allowed by the tribunal headed by Justice Adnan-ul-Karim Memon.

The nomination papers of Mr Qureshi and his son Zain Qureshi were rejected on the grounds that they had not filed certificates about agricultural income tax. Besides, the RO’s order said that Mr Qureshi was also an alleged defaulter of NTS and the signature of his authority letter was not verified.

Qureshi, Zulfi, Haleem, Panjotha, Ayaz Amir, Omer Ayub, Atif Khan, Shahram among successful appellants

After hearing Barrister Ali Tahir, who represented the appellants, Assistant Attorney General G.M. Bhutto and ECP law officer Sarmad Sawar, the tribunal said that the appellants had made out a case for relief as provided under the law, enabling them to contest the subject election without resistance.

However, the appeals of Mohammad Alamgir Khan (NA-236 Karachi East-II) and Dr Masroor Ali Sial were turned down.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

In Peshawar, three ETs accepted 29 appeals against ROs’ decisions.

Prominent among those declared eligible to contest the polls were Muhammad Atif Khan (NA-22, PK-59 Mardan), Shahram Tarakai, Mahmood Jan, Mujahid Khan, Iftikhar Mashwani and Ameer Farzand Khan.

The tribunal, led by Justice Shakeel Ahmad, heard 14 appeals, of which 11 were accepted, one was rejected and two were adjourned.

Another ET, headed by Justice Syed Muhammad Attique Shah, accepted five out of 14 appeals, whereas seven cases were adjourned.

Similarly, the appellate tribunal of Justice Wiqar Ahmad heard 14 appeals, out of which 13 were accepted.

The tribunal, led by Justice Shakeel Ahmad, accepted the appeal of Mujahid Ali (NA-21, Mardan).

The tribunals also restored nomination papers of PTI leader from Kohat Shafiullah Jan (PK-92 Kohat), Ameer Farzand (PK-56 Mardan), Abdul Salam Afridi (NA-22 and PK-58 Mardan) and Adnan Khan (PK-88).

The papers of Mian Umer Khan were restored for PK-88 Nowshera. He is contesting against PTI defector and former KP CM, Pervez Khattak.

In Malakand division, a total of 86 appeals were filed by the PTI hopefuls, with 60 nomination papers already accepted by the tribunal comprising Justice Muhammad Naeem Anwar.

Aspirants whose papers were restored included Fazal Hakeem (PK-5, PK-6, NA-2, and 3 Swat), Saleemur Rahman (NA-2 and NA-3), Dr Amjad Ali (PK-7), Mian Sharafat Ali (PK-3 and NA-2), and Azizullah Gran (PK-5, PK-6, PK-7, and NA-3).

The candidature of several PTI leaders from other districts of Malakand were also approved, including Junaid Akber, Gul Dad Khan, Sahibzada Sibghatullah, Gul Zafar Khan, Anwar Zeb, Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, Ajmal Khan, Shafiullah, and Humayun Khan.

However, the tribunal comprising Justice Kamran Hayat Miankhel upheld the disqualification of PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati (NA-15, Mansehra).

His counsel Sardar Basharat told media persons that they would challenge the decision before a division bench of the high court.

Mr Basharat, who also represents Senator Swati in the appeal seeking PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification, said the tribunal also heard that case and fixed January 8 for next hearing.

“The judge in his remarks said the Supreme Court is hearing [a case regarding] Nawaz Sharif’s eligibility and this court has been waiting for the outcome of that case,” he said.

The tribunal decided 14 cases out of 19.

The appeals of KP Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani against the rejection of his papers for PK-45 and NA-16 seats were adjourned to Saturday.

Meanwhile, Omer Ayub Khan and Babar Nawaz Khan withdrew their appeals against each other.

Islamabad-Rawalpindi

In Islamabad, a tribunal cleared the nominations of 55 candidates vying for three NA seats — NA-46, NA-47 and NA-48. Likewise, many prominent candidates were given a go-ahead in Rawalpindi.

However, the tribunal comprising Justice Arbab Mohammad Tahir upheld the ROs’ decision on a couple of appeals.

Justice Tahir observed that the ROs, in majority of the cases, had rejected papers on petty issues such as defaulting on utility bills amounting to Rs15,000 and property taxes, adding that such matters could have been resolved within five to 10 minutes in the offices of the ROs.

PTI leader Shuaib Shaheen was allowed to contest the election from all the three constituencies of Islamabad.

Similarly, papers of Niazullah Niazi, Ilyas Meharban and Amir Mughal were also cleared.

The tribunal in Rawalpindi allowed Raja Basharat (NA-55 and PP-15, Rawalpindi), Zulfi Bukhari, Ayaz Amir (NA-58, Chakwal) and others to contest the elections.

The papers of Ijaz Khan Jazi (NA-56 and PP-16, Rawalpindi), Rashid Shafiq (NA-56 and NA-57) Chaudhry Javed Kausar, and Latasab Satti (NA-51 and PP-6 Murree) were also accepted.

The tribunal sought details of bank accounts and foreign travels of Fawad Chaudhry from the FIA while hearing his appeal against the rejection of his nomination papers.

A tribunal of the LHC overturned the RO’s decision against PTI’s Qazi Ahmed Akbar (PP-1) and his mother Shahnaz Akhtar.

Punjab

A tribunal comprising Justice Asjad Javed Ghural allowed the appeals of Advocate Naeem Panjotha, a lawyer of PTI, and accepted his nomination papers from NA-82, PP71 and PP-80 of Sargodha.

The appeals of Osama Ahmad Mela and Ansar Iqbal Haral were also allowed and the tribunal accepted their nomination papers from NA-83, PP-73, PP-74 and PP-76 of Sargodha.

The tribunal set aside a decision of the RO of PP-72, Sargodha and accepted the nomination papers of PTI ticket aspirant Sohail Akhtar Gujjar.

A tribunal comprising Justice Rasaal Hassan Syed allowed an appeal of PTI aspirant Malik Nadeem Abbas Bara (PP-167, Lahore).

Justice Sarfraz Doger, heading the tribunal in Multan, accepted the papers of Adil Saeed Gujar (PP-204, Sahiwal-VII).

The election tribunal of LHC accepted the nomination papers of Rai Hammad Aslam Kharl (PP-192).

The tribunal, led by Justice Gharal, accepted the appeal of former Toba Tek Singh district PTI president Dr Waheed Akbar (PP-121).

Balochistan

In Quetta, the nomination papers of Sardar Khadim Hussain Wardak of PTI were also accepted and he was allowed to contest election on NA-262-Quetta-I.

Nisar Ahmad Khan in Mansehra, Fazal Khaliq in Swat, Wajih Ahmad Sheikh in Lahore, Shafiq Butt in Sahiwal, Aslam Piracha in Okara, Tariq Saeed in Toba Tek Singh and Saleem Shahid in Quetta also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2024

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