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Three heavyweights bite the dust

April 08, 2013

ISLAMABAD, April 7: On Sunday, three political heavyweights saw their nomination papers thrown out by the returning officers in Islamabad, Gujar Khan and Taxila.

The three were former president Pervez Musharraf (NA-48), ex-prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf (NA-51) and former opposition leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan (NA-53).

In Islamabad’s NA-48, returning officer Mohammad Azam Khan ruled that Gen (retired) Musharraf was not eligible to contest the elections.

At least 10 people had raised objections against the former strongman.

Taufiq Asif, the president of the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bar Association, Lt-Col (retired) Inaumur Rahim and some lawyers of Islamabad bar were among those who had challenged his candidature.

Advocate Anwaar Dar on behalf of the LHC bar argued that Musharraf had provided false information and his papers were also incomplete.

He said the former army chief had not attached his secondary and higher secondary educational certificates along with the nomination papers.

“The annual expenses of Mr Musharraf have been shown as Rs8 million and that of his spouse Sehba Musharraf as Rs2.6 million, but he did not disclose the source of income,” he said.

He said Musharraf was a salaried person and getting Rs1.5 million as annual pension. The counsel claimed that the former president had purchased property worth millions of rupees within and outside the country but did not provide the detail as to how he had managed to arrange such a huge amount.

Taufiq Asif contended that the July 31, 2009, Supreme Court judgment had declared several actions of the former president as unconstitutional.

He said the apex court had observed that “there can be no doubt at all that the actions of November 3, 2007, were unconstitutional.

It is for this obvious reason that General Musharaf, lacking legitimate authority, abused the office of the chief of army staff and relied on the physical force which had been placed under his command. This constituted a frontal attack on the constitution and directly undermined the writ of the State.”

On the other hand, senior lawyer Ahmed Raza Qasuri, an APML leader, rejected the objections.

He said an eligible voter or other candidates could file an objection against the nomination papers of a candidate.

The LHC bar association is a representative body of Rawalpindi-based lawyers and it has nothing to do with NA-48.

He said the apex court in its judgment of July 31, 2009, had passed orders against the PCO judges and never gave any verdict against the former president.

Despite being an accused in the Benazir Bhutto, Akbar Bugti murder and judges’ detention cases, Musharraf is qualified to contest election because he has not been convicted by any court, he added.

During the hearing, the lawyers and supporters of Mr Musharraf also exchanged harsh words.

Later, talking to mediapersons, Mr Qasuri termed the attitude of the lawyers uncivilised.

He said in the past people from noble families opted to join the profession but now dismissed clerks, policemen and those who could not find any other jobs adopted the profession. They are defaming this profession, he added.

He said such elements in the lawyers’ echelon were involved in attacking policemen, judges and even mediapersons.

Dr Mohammad Amjad, another leader of the APML, after rejection of the nomination papers said the court heard the lawyers for three hours but the former president’s counsel was not given more than 10 minutes.

He alleged that the RO had adopted a discriminatory approach towards the APML leader and their party would protest against his decision.

For the same seat (NA-48), the RO cleared Anjum Aqeel Khan, Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf Gujjar of the PML-N, Faisal Sakhi Butt (PPP), Mian Mohammad Aslam (JI), Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Hassan Ayub Khan, Dr Israr Shah and Adnan Randhawa of the PTI and Ahmed Raza Qasuri of the APML.

Wajid Ali, the RO for NA-49, cleared the nomination papers of Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry of the PML-N, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar of the PPP, Zubair Farooq of JI, Ilyas Mehrban and Raja Khurram of the PTI and Dr Mohammad Amjad of the APML.

Some 165 candidates had submitted their nomination papers for the two seats out of which 11 from NA-48 and nine from NA-49 were rejected.

GUJAR KHAN: Khalid Arshad, the RO for NA-51, rejected the nomination papers of former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

Raj Irfan Aziz, a relative of Raja Jawaid Ikhlas, had complained that Pervez Ashraf had been misusing his discretionary funds in his constituency which amounted to a pre-poll rigging and showed his partisan approach and corrupt practices.

He also produced the attested copies of different court orders, including Supreme Court judgment of March 30, 2013, in the rental power project case and the March 28, 2013, contempt proceedings.

The RO in his order observed, "Admittedly the apex court has held in its judgment in the RPP case that all the government functionaries, including this candidate (Pervez Ashraf) while increasing down-payment from 7% to 14%, had prima facie, violated the principle of transparency.”

He also noted that the apex court had also issued a notice to Pervez Ashraf on March 28, 2013, stating why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for writing a secret letter to the court in an attempt to interfere and influence it in the RPP case.

The IHC on March 28, 2013, also cancelled the contract for construction of roads in Gujar Khan and ordered that copies of the judgment be sent to chairman NAB for initiating proceedings against all those involved in the scam, including the then prime minister Pervez Ashraf.

In the meantime, the RO also rejected the nomination of Chaudhry Mohammad Riaz, a former provincial minister and PML-N leader.

In PP-4, the papers of Raja Shauket Aziz Bhatti of the PML-N were also rejected.

TAXILA: PML-N stalwart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s nomination papers for PP-7 (Rawalpindi-VII) and NA-53 (Rawalpindi -IV) were rejected for not declaring accurate details of his assets.

The objections were submitted to returning officer Malik Saeed Awan by Tanveer Iqbal and Iqrar Shah advocates, the counsel for former Federal Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

The PML-N leader appeared before the court and replied to the objections.

Talking to mediapersons, former MPA Umer Farooq, who had filed the nomination papers on behalf of Chaudhry Nisar, said an appeal would be filed with the appellant authority in Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Monday.

However, Chaudhry Nisar’s papers were accepted from NA-52, Rawalpindi.

Moreover, the retuning officer also rejected the nominations of MQM candidate Kashif Ali Khan for PP-8 Wah Cantt and NA-53, and PPP’s Sardar Waqas Khan for PP-8.