ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday suspended the notification of three returned candidates who were elected members of the National Assembly from the three constituencies of federal capital.

A division bench comprising Justice Minagul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Arbab Mohammad Tahir suspended the notifications of NA-46, NA-47 and NA-48.

It may be recalled that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had declared Anjum Aqeel Khan, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Raja Khurram Nawaz Khan as returned candidates from these constituencies, respectively.

Amir Mughal, Mohammad Shoaib Shaheen and Mohammad Ali Bukhari had contested from these constituencies as independent candidates with the support of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Stay issued on appeals filed by PTI-backed contestants; Islamabad DRO proceeds on ex-Pakistan leave

They had challenged the ECP’s notification, claiming that it had been issued in violation of the status quo order issued by the ECP itself.

Earlier, a single member bench had disposed of their petitions with a direction to the ECP to decide their representations. The three, however, filed intra-court appeals against the single member bench’s decision.

The IHC’s registrar objected to appe­a­­ls, saying since a tribunal aimed at hearing election disputes had been constitu­ted, therefore, the appellants could not file appeals against the ECP’s notification.

The ECP lawyer submitted that a notification in this regard is yet to be issued by the commission. Subse­quently, the court overruled the registrar’s objection.

The appellants contended that the single member bench did not adjudicate upon the merits of the case. They argued that they had Form-45 issued by the presiding officers of each polling station. As per the calculation carried out on the basis of Form-45, they obtained more votes than their opponents did.

The court noted that the notification dated Feb 11 was incompatible with the even dated order passed by the ECP.

The court directed the ECP to produce on the next date of hearing full record that led to issuance of the notification declaring Anjum Aqeel Khan, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Raja Khurram Nawaz Khan of PML-N as returned candidates.

However, the bench did not suspend the proceedings before the ECP, observing it “shall be taken to their logical conclusion and if need be a notification of the returned candidate be issued after the issuance of Form-48 and Form-49 in accordance with the law”.

“However, until this process is completed, the operation of the notification dated 11.02.2024 which was impugned in writ petition No.499/2024 is suspended,” the bench ruled.

DRO ‘goes on leave’

Separately, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon has obtained leave to travel abroad, it emerged on Monday.

The DC, who was also the district returning officer for the capital during the recently-conducted general elections, had applied for leave to travel abroad, officials from the capital administration said.

Mr Memon told Dawn that he was indeed on leave until March 5, but refused to provide any more details.

The request for over two weeks of leave was granted by the Islamabad chief commissioner, they added.

In his absence, Additional Deputy Commissioner Rana Waqas will look after the office of the DC Islamabad, they added.

Although it is not clear where the DC is expected to be traveling, his sub-ordinates said that he may be going to perform Umrah.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2024

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