After scrutiny of nomination papers of candidates for 10 National Assembly seats reserved for minorities, 69 candidates representing various political parties are in the run. However, one of the candidates, Sajid Ishaq Sindhu from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has landed in a serious controversy after a former banker has registered a case against him for having illicit relations with his wife.
The Election Commission of Pakistan received 168 nomination papers from across the country. Only 69 candidates have been given clean chits by the returning officers. They have been nominated by 18 political parties in order of preference under Section 47-A of the People’s Representation Act, 1976.
However, during the scrutiny process on April 5, the PTI nominee Sajid Ishaq did not inform the returning officer that he had been charged under Section 338A and 506 by the Women Police Station G-7 Islamabad for having an illicit relationship with the wife of Zafar Iqbal and aborting their alleged love child with the woman’s consent.
ECP officials told Pakistan Today that this act could create problems for Sajid Ishaq, who had been recently elected as the president of the PTI Minorities Wing, as the Commission could disqualify him for concealing the registration of a case against him during the scrutiny process.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Zafar said that he had lodged an application with the Women Police Station on October 15 last year, alleging that he had credible evidence in support of his claim. He said that he had been trying to get a case registered against the accused but he had been evading an FIR allegedly in connivance with the SHO, Sadaf Basharat. However, he claimed that Sadaf had not entertained his application on one pretext or the other and alleged that she had been heavily bribed by Ishaq not to register the case.
“Sajid has played a pivotal role in ruining my family life and I’m now seriously concerned about the future of my two daughters who are presently in custody of my wife Shazia, against whom I’m engaged in a separation suit,” he said, adding that Sajid and his bodyguards had also given him life threats in the police station when he went there to record his statement. “They asked me to stop pursuing the case or else I would be killed. I have lost everything but I’m not going to let him destroy the lives of my daughters, aged 16 and 13, respectively,” he added.
Zafar told Pakistan Today that after being repeatedly ignored by the police, he moved an application along with the supporting evidence in the Sessions Court seeking registration of a case against Sajid Ishaq but in spite of the court’s orders the police kept delaying the case. “Finally on April 4, the Sessions Judge-West rebuked Sadaf Basharat for flouting the court’s orders and told her to submit the FIR in court. Although Sadaf reluctantly registered the FIR, she avoided adding the section related to fornication (Zina Bil Raza) which is a non-bailable offense, thus enabling Sajid to obtain pre-arrest bail,” he said.
Zafar said that when he came to know that Sajid was a nominee of the PTI for the National Assembly, he approached the ECP to file an appeal but was told that Sajid’s nomination had been accepted by the Commission. “Sajid did not inform the ECP returning officer that he had just obtained pre-arrest bail in a criminal case and is therefore in violation of Articles 62 and 63. The ECP should take notice of this issue,” he said.
When contacted, Women Police Station SHO Sadaf Basharat refuted all allegations leveled against her by Zafar. She said that she had been delaying the FIR registration for more than four months because she had been investigating the matter. “I have not been bribed. This is a sensitive matter and only after thorough investigations I registered a case against the PTI leader,” she said, denying that she had deliberately avoided adding that section related to fornication in the FIR.
Sajid Ishaq told Pakistan Today that Zafar was his acquaintance for over 20 years. “I have never had illicit relations with his wife. All allegations leveled against me are false and Zafar is only trying to blackmail me,” he said. Ishaq refused to disclose further details of the matter, saying the case was sub-judice and he would only inform the court about the nature of the telephone calls’ record Zafar had submitted in court as part of the prosecution’s evidence.
“I have full faith in God and believe that I will get a clean chit in the case. I have always stood up for the rights of my community and I believe that Zafar is being used by my political rivals to tarnish my reputation,” he said. However he refused to comment on whether he had disclosed the FIR against him before the returning officer, Imtiaz Alam.
It is relevant to note here that PML-N’s candidate Dr Nelson Azeem’s nomination papers were rejected on the ground that he didn’t mention a case which was registered against him during the last six months.
“All candidates are supposed to share information of cases registered against them, if any, with the returning officer. In the case of Sajid, he submitted nomination papers on March 30, and FIR in question was registered against him on April 4. So, technically he did not conceal the fact while submitting nomination papers. However, if someone feels that Sajid is not fit under Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution, he should file an appeal in the Election Tribunal against him,” ECP Deputy Director (Media) Khursheed Alam told Pakistan Today.