ISLAMABAD, Oct 29: With general election round the corner, National Reconstruction Bureau’s former chairman Daniyal Aziz has petitioned the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to settle his election dispute pending before it for the past four and a half years.
Mr Aziz has requested the ECP to appoint a new election tribunal at Islamabad and direct it to decide the matter within 10 days after conducting the hearing on a day-to-day basis.
The petition has been moved under Sections 57, 58, 67(1A), 103 and 104 of the Representation of People’s Act, 1976, and Article 224(4) of the Constitution which provides that no by-election can be held when the tenure of an assembly is going to expire.
Mr Aziz had contested for NA-116 Narowal-II in the 2008, but lost the election to PPP’s Chaudhry Mohammad Tariq Anees. He challenged the result before the ECP, claiming that elections were stolen through massive rigging.
Asked what benefit he would get even if the case was decided in his favour as the tenure of the National Assembly was about to end, Mr Aziz said people had high expectations from the new ECP which had been created through the more effective process of parliament after passing of the 18th Amendment.
“My case is a test case for the ECP to meet the high expectations of people,” he said while talking to Dawn.
“I am expecting an exemplary and clear judgment by the commission,” he said, adding that evidence had been recorded, arguments heard and the judgment reserved on July 18, 2011.
His election dispute pending adjudication since 2008 was taken up by different election tribunals. Firstly, it was the tribunal headed by Justice Syed Hamid Ali Shah that heard the case and then a tribunal led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial took up the issue and ordered the appointment of a local commission headed by Justice (retd) Rustam Ali Malik which recorded the evidence after conducting exhaustive proceedings.
On Nov 3, 2010, the petition was transferred by the ECP to Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed on the request of the respondent.
On July 7, 2011, Justice Saeed reserved his ruling but the petition was transferred to another tribunal by the ECP.
Now the dispute is pending before the tribunal of Justice Ijazul Ahsan of the Lahore High Court. The case, likely to be heard on Wednesday (Oct 31), has been adjourned several times on the request of the respondent.
On July 12, 2012, the tribunal ordered for fixation of the case after summer vacations on an application moved by Mr Aziz. After hectic efforts the case was fixed for Oct 10, but it was again adjourned.
Mr Aziz moved another petition requesting for an early hearing and disposal of the case, but the tribunal instead of fixing the date for hearing issued notices to the respondent, apparently ignoring the requirements of the Representation of People’s Act which clearly enunciates that the election tribunal should proceed with the trial on a day-to-day basis without any adjournment and in case the matter is not decided in four months, no further adjournment be granted.
Mr Aziz alleges that it has now become a widely accepted perception in political circles that election tribunals are formed only to ensure that decisions on petitions will be announced after the expiry of the term of the National Assembly.
On a separate petition moved by Mr Aziz, the LHC had ordered the tribunal on June 8 to decide the dispute expeditiously, preferably within one month, but the directions could not be complied with. Now Mr Aziz has requested the ECP to order withdrawing the dispute from the tribunal and nominate a new tribunal at Islamabad to decide the matter, preferably within 10 days.