• Police accused of stopping their nomination papers from being filed for PP-32 by-poll
• ECP notifies appellate tribunals for Senate polls

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD/GUJRAT: Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh of the Lahore High Court asked the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) to look into a petition by PTI president and his family members accusing police of not letting their nomination papers filed for the PP-32 (Gujrat) by-poll and issue an appropriate order.

Advocate Amir Saeed Rawn told the court that incarcerated Mr Elahi, his wife Qaisara Elahi and other family members wanted to submit their nomination papers for the by-election. However, he said, the police were not allowing Mr Elahi, who is in jail, to file his nomination papers while they were also causing harassment to his family members.

He said March 18 was the last date for the submission of the nomination papers.

On a short notice, Advocate General of Punjab Khalid Ishaq appeared before the court and stated that nomination papers of Rehana Abbas, a cousin of Mr Elahi, had been submitted to the ECP.

He denied the allegations of harassment and maintained that the nomination papers were being filed smoothly.

Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh disposed of the petition in light of the law officer’s statement.

Earlier in the day, the spouse of the PTI president Qaisara Elahi was not allowed to file nomination papers even after the Election Commission of Pakistan’s direction to returning officer to promptly accept the nomination papers of five candidates (including Parvez Elahi).

Qaisara, along with her sister Sumaira Elahi, had tried to submit the nomination papers on Sunday but the security personnel allegedly did not let them enter the premises of the district government complex.

The seat fell vacant after Chaudhry Salik Hussain retained his National Assembly seat. The by-election for the constituency is scheduled to take place on April 21. Talking to reporters at the main gate of the deputy Commissioner office, Ms Sumaira Elahi, a sister of Qaisara, said that despite the orders of the Election Commission of Pakistan to let the nomination papers of Parvez Elahi submitted with the returning officer, the local police and authorities did not allow them to enter the premises.

“This is being done to the Parvez Elahi camp for being loyal to PTI founder Imran Khan,” she said.

Sumera said several PTI workers and lawyers who were accompanying them had also been detained by the police from the main gate of the DC Complex.

Parvez Elahi who never lost this seat from 1985 to 2018 has already challenged the Feb 8 vote results in the court claiming massive tempering in the Form 45.

On the other hand, the PML Q president Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain has nominated his nephew Chaudhary Musa Elahi party’s candidate from PP-32.

Musa Elahi, the scion of former federal minister Chaudhary Wajahat Hussain and brother of Q MNA Chaudhary Hussain Elahi, has filed his nomination papers for PP- 32.

Meanwhile at least 11 aspirants have submitted their nomination papers for the the by polls on this seat.

The other candidates include Ms Rehana Abbas, the cousin of Qaisara Elahi, Azfar Badar Warr­aich of PPP, Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal of Jamaat-i-Islami, former union council chairmen Safdar Mumtaz Sandhu, Rukhsar Ahmed, Samiullah Awan, Faisal Mehmood, Moazzam Siddiue and Muhmmad Waris.

Appellate tribunals

The ECP also notified appointment of five appellate tribunals for the Senate elections 2024, consisting of high court judges.

According to a notification issued here, an appellate tribunal has been constituted for the federal capital comprising Justice Saman Rifat Imtiaz.

Likewise, an appellate tribunal, headed by Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan for Punjab, the appellate tribunal for Sindh will be headed by Justice Adnan Iqbal Chaudhry, the appellate tribunal for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be headed Justice Shakil Ahmed. According to the notification, unlike the other three provinces and the federal capital, two appellate tribunals have been formed for Balochistan, comprising Justice Ejaz Swati and Justice Nazeer Ahmed Langove.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has asked the returned candidates to filed their election expenses and explained as per Section 134(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, a contesting candidate, other than returned candidate, shall submit the return of his election expenses on Form-C within 30 days of the publication of the name of the returned candidate. As per Section 134(2), ‘the return of election expenses of the returned candidate and a contesting candidate shall be submitted to the Returning Officer on Form-C’.

The commission said all the contesting candidates of General Elections, 2024 are reminded that they are under obligation to submit their return of election expenses on Form-C within 30 days from the date of issuance of notification of the returned candidate in the respective constituency. “They are, therefore, advised to do the needful within the specified period to avoid action under Section 136(4) and 136(5)”, it said while informing that prescribed form can be downloaded from the ECP’s website.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2024

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