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PESHAWAR, April 5: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday extended the interim relief granted to two former MPAs of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) and directed the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other respondents not to take any action against them.

The relief granted to Maulana Dildar Ahmad and Gorsaran Lal will remain effective till the filing of comments by the respondents for which the court fixed a 10-day period.

A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Tariq Pervez Khan and Justice Raj Muhammad Khan took up for hearing four petitions filed by former MPAs Maulana Dildar Ahmad, Gorsaran Lal, Rukhsana Raz and Yasmeen Khalid. They had challenged the notifications issued by the NWFP Assembly’s secretary on March 25 declaring their seats vacant on the basis of their controversial resignations.

The bench declined to grant the temporary relief to Ms Raz and Ms Khalid observing that subsequent developments had taken place in their cases as the CEC had already notified two other women as MPAs on the seats reserved for women. The new MPAs have also taken oath of office.

On three petitions, the bench sought comments from the Leader of Opposition Maulana Fazlur Rehman, members of an inquiry committee of the JUI-F, the speaker of the assembly, and secretaries of the assembly and the election commission.

In the fourth petition, that of Maulana Dildar’s, comments were sought from the speaker only.

In the cases except that of Maulana Dildar’s, the bench allowed the petitioners to include as respondents Maulana Fazl and the JUI-F’s inquiry committee which had forwarded the four resignations to the speaker and expelled the MPAs from the party on the grounds that they had violated the party discipline during the recent Senate elections.

In the same three petitions, the bench asked five questions: whether the petitioners were asked by the party to put their signature on a blank paper? Whether they were given the impression that their signatures would be later used to convey their resignations? Whether the writing on those blank papers was in the handwriting of the petitioners? Whether resignations had been handed over to the speaker by the party leaders? And, whether the petitioners had met the speaker to disown the resignations before the issuance of the notification by the assembly secretary?

Advocate Yahya Afridi, representing Maulana Dildar, said he would raise only one point; whether the resignation had been submitted to the speaker by the petitioner in person?

Advocate Mian Mohibullah Kakakhel appeared for the female petitioners and referred to the Peshawar High Court’s judgment wherein the court had restored the membership of Rehmatullah Khan and Munawar Khan, who were expelled by the Awami National Party in 1992 and their resignations were sent to the speaker.

The bench inquired from Mr Kakakhel whether the present petitions were maintainable in the high court as factual controversies were involved in it. Mr Kakakhel said that superior courts had decided in various petitions such like cases. He argued that before accepting a resignation the speaker had to satisfy himself about its genuineness.