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Malik given time to engage lawyer

Interior Minister Rehman Malik. - File Photo

KARACHI: A sessions court granted time to Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Thursday to engage a counsel and Farahnaz Ispahani, who has been disqualified from the National Assembly, to ensure her presence in the dual nationality case till Nov 29.

On a directive of the Supreme Court, the Election Commission had filed complaints against Mr Malik and Ms Ispahani of PPP and disqualified MPA Nadia Gabol of MQM for filing false declarations along with their nomination papers for election.

On a previous hearing, the court supplied a copy of the complaint to Mr Malik and fixed Nov 1 for indictment.

During the hearing a lawyer appearing on behalf of Ms Ispahani requested the court to condone her absence because she was unwell and receiving medical treatment in the US and sought more time on health grounds. On Thursday, Mr Malik turned up before District and Sessions Judge (south) Ahmed Saba and through an application informed the court that he had yet to engage a lawyer because he had recently returned from a foreign country and requested the court to grant him some time.

The court allowed the pleas and directed the respondents to engage counsel and ensure their presence on the next hearing. It asked the Election Commission to submit a certified copy of the apex court’s judgment.

The commission filed complaints against the respondents for committing corrupt practices under the Pakistan Penal Code’s Sections 78 and 82 of the Representation of People Act, 1976 read with Sections 193 (punishment for false evidence), 196 (using evidence knowing to be false), 197 (issuing or signing false certificate), 198 (using as true a certificate known to be false) and 199 (false statement made in declaration which is by law receivable as evidence).

On Sept 20, the Supreme Court disqualified 11 members of parliament and provincial assemblies, but spared Mr Malik for the time being.

However, the court ordered the chief election commissioner to initiate legal proceedings against the disqualified members as well as Mr Malik for filing false declarations and concealing their dual nationality.

The case of Ms Gabol is fixed before the court for Saturday.