ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has disqualified Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Nasir Cheema for violating electoral rules.
Nasir Cheema had included pictures of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nasir and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on his election posters.
The PTI candidate was contesting the election from PP-53 Gujranwala.
On Monday, Cheema, along with his lawyer Gohar Ali Khan, appeared before a five-member bench headed by the CEC and submitted a reply.
The lawyer initially was of the stance that the photos of Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had been edited onto the posters, which he said did not belong to his client’s electoral campaign. He said the posters in question were put up in solidarity with Supreme Court judge Justice Ijazul Ahsan after unknown gunmen opened fire on his residence in April.
But Abdul Ghaffar Soomro, an ECP member from Sindh, questioned whether Justice Ahsan’s photo was on the said poster, which only featured the CJP’s photo.
CEC Khan reminded the counsel that Cheema had admitted in the last hearing that the posters had been printed before the election schedule was issued.
“Do the army and judiciary need your sympathy?” he asked the candidate.
Cheema’s lawyer then argued that the posters were put up before ECP issued the code of conduct.
After hearing all arguments, the ECP bench reserved the verdict on the matter. It later ruled Cheema disqualified from the electoral race for using photos of two heads of institutions on the posters.
The CEC had emphasised during the last hearing that it was not a question of when the posters had been put on display and asked Cheema to understand the question as to why these images had been put up at all.
At an earlier hearing, Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza had asked Cheema why the army chief and chief justice’s pictures were on his election posters. “Are they your relatives?” the election commissioner had asked.
“What do the army chief and chief justice have to do with the elections?” he had asked the candidate.