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Former minister, ex-MNA allowed to contest polls

April 13, 2013

PESHAWAR, April 12: An election appellate tribunal here on Friday heard around 75 election appeals against the orders of returning officers concerned and allowed some of the candidates to contest polls including former minister of state Malik Azmat Khan and ex-MNA Pir Haider Ali Shah.

The tribunal comprising Justice Mian Fasihul Mulk, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Mrs Irshad Qaiser also dismissed some of the appeals including that of former MPA, Sardar Ali, who was recently convicted for possessing fake graduation degree.In majority of the cases the tribunal adjourned hearing and issued notices to the concerned respondents including the rival candidates and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Several of the appeals were filed by the rival candidates against each other in different provincial assembly constituencies on basis of certain allegations. The tribunals dismissed the same with the observation that a person could not be disqualified merely on the basis of allegations.

The nomination papers of Malik Azmat were rejected by the returning officers concerned for NA-33 and provincial assembly constituency PK-97 Lower Dir on the ground of non-verification of his graduation degree. His counsel contended that despite issuance of clearance certificate by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and subsequently by the ECP, the returning officers turned down his papers. He added that his degree was properly verified by the HEC and was genuine.

Nomination papers of Pir Haider Ali were rejected by the RO for NA-16 Hangu on technical grounds as he had not mentioned certain information related to his performance when he was an MNA in the nomination papers. His counsel contended that he had properly mentioned the required information but the RO still rejected his papers.In case of Sardar Ali, the tribunal rejected his appeal against rejection of his nomination papers for PK-34 Swabi. The tribunal observed that he was sentenced to three years imprisonment by the trial court for possessing fake degree and under the Constitution no person sentenced to more than two years imprisonment could contest till five years.

The tribunal allowed a candidate, Zarghun Shah, to contest on PK-23 Mardan constituency from where former chief minister Ameer Haider Hoti is the candidate. His papers were rejected on the ground that he had gone to perform Haj but had not mentioned the expenses in his papers. Appellant’s Counsel Shakeel Ahmad contended that he had attached details about his Haj along with his papers, but the RO had not considered it and rejected his papers.

In two other appeals filed by former senator and central leader of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F, Maulana Gul Naseeb, challenging rejection of his papers for NA-34 and PK-97 constituencies, the tribunal issued notices to the HEC and concerned university so that his degree could be verified. His papers were rejected on the ground of possessing degree of non-recognised institution when he had contested for Senate elections.

The tribunal put on notice former provincial minister Ms Sitara Ayaz in an appeal filed by a social welfare officer, Ms Tahira Naveed. The appellant stated that the former minister, who is now ANP’s candidate for seats reserved for women in the provincial assembly, had concealed facts as she had not mentioned in her nomination papers that a criminal case was pending against her. She added that a court in Peshawar had ordered the police to register an FIR against Ms Sitara for keeping the appellant in illegal confinement.

In an interesting case the tribunal allowed appeal of a candidate of JUI-S for PK-44 Abbotabad, Ghulam Sarwar, as he turned 25 on Friday. His papers were rejected by the RO as he was not 25 at the time of scrutiny of his papers whereas under the Constitution a candidate must be 25 years of age. The tribunal set aside the order of the RO and observed that the age of a candidate would be counted at the time of polling.

Similarly, in another appeal filed by former MPA Malik Imran, challenging rejection of his papers for PK-75 Lakki Marwat, the tribunal issued notice to the ECP. His papers were rejected as he was earlier disqualified by the Peshawar High Court for possessing fake degree.

In another petition filed by former Haripur district nazim and a leader of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) Yousaf Ayub for PK-50 Haripur the tribunal issued notice to the respondents including HEC and ECP. His papers were also rejected on ground of possessing fake graduation degree.