- Former PM allowed to contest elections from Murree’s NA-57, says will contest polls and leave decision to public
- PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry allowed to contest election from NA-67
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday overturned the Punjab Election Appellate Tribunal’s decision disqualifying former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for life for not being “honest” and “sagacious’, and barring him from contesting the election from his native Murree’s NA-57 constituency.
During the hearing, a two-member bench, headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi, quizzed the former prime minister on assets declared before the electoral body. The bench also questioned his role as owner of AirBlue airline, and the stocks and shares he owns in other companies.
The returning officer submitted his reply to court in the judge’s chambers.
Abbasi’s lawyer told the court that responses had been provided to all questions asked in the nomination papers.
Despite all the details being furnished, a decision was made contrary to the law, Abbasi’s counsel said, adding that the ex-PM had declared the value of all his assets.
Abbasi said he had invested Rs1 million in Murree’s Blue Pines Hotel.
He contended that the tribunal had overstepped its jurisdiction, since it only had powers to either accept or reject nomination papers, and lacked the authority to disqualify lawmakers for life.
The tribunal’s decision had read that Abbasi does not fulfil requirements under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. The court had also sent a notice to the returning officer who rejected the nomination papers.
Abbasi’s appeal, against the verdict authored by Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi, filed in LHC by Abbasi’s counsel Khawaja Tariq Rahim, asserted that the appellate tribunal’s jurisdiction only extended to approving or rejecting returning officer’s stance. “It cannot disqualify a candidate for life,” stressed the petition.
The former premier had prayed to the high court to set aside the verdict in NA-57 (Murree) by Justice Lodhi.
‘PML-N WILL BE VICTORIOUS’:
Speaking to the media outside the LHC, Abbasi said, “The party leadership is conducting a powerful election campaign and God willing, we will be victorious with a significant majority.”
“We have to contest the polls and then leave the rest to the public,” he added.
The PML-N stalwart further said, “We pray that a transparent election is held in Pakistan.”
Commenting on Nawaz Sharif’s stay in London, the PML-N leader said he will return to Pakistan as soon as his wife, Begum Kulsoom’s medical condition improves.
FAWAD CHAUDHRY TO CONTEST FROM NA-67:
The LHC also set aside an appellate tribunal’s verdict barring Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry for life from contesting elections from NA-67 (Jhelum).
The Justice Naqvi-headed bench gave Chaudhry permission to contest the election.
The petitioner said that although the RO had accepted the nomination papers, the appellate tribunal had rejected them.
Chaudhry said that according to the tribunal, the details of Rs3.2m expenditure on foreign trips had not been furnished and asset details were not provided.
The appellant maintained that a Federal Board of Revenue certified copy of details was attached to the nomination papers but this was ignored by the tribunal and he had then been disqualified for life.
Chaudhry requested the court to set aside the tribunal’s verdict and grant him permission to contest the election. Subsequently, the LHC set aside the decision and gave him the green light to contest from NA-67.