The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) appellate tribunals on Wednesday cleared Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan’s nomination papers to contest the upcoming polls from Islamabad’s NA-53 constituency as well as Bannu’s NA-35.
Khan’s papers, like former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PTI-Gulalai leader Ayesha Gulalai’s, had been rejected from NA-53 because he had failed to fill out Clause N, which asks candidates about their contributions to their previous constituencies.
The tribunal’s presiding officer Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had set aside the objections against Abbasi and Gulalai’s papers on Tuesday but had put off hearing the appeal filed by Khan until today.
Khan personally appeared before Justice Kayani today to fill out the incomplete Clause ‘N’ of the affidavit.
He mentioned that his philanthropic work such as the establishment of Shaukat Khanum Hospital and his quest to create awareness about fundamental rights may be treated as contribution towards his previous constituents.
Khan received another boost today as his nomination papers from NA-35 were also cleared after objections raised by Justice and Democratic Party candidate Inamullah Wazir were discarded by another appellate tribunal.
Wazir had sought the rejection of Khan’s candidacy on the grounds that he had failed to disclose the name of Tyrian White, the PTI chief’s alleged daughter, in his nomination papers.
After hearing both the parties’ arguments, the tribunal ruled in Khan’s favour citing the unavailability of evidence
Meanwhile, Abbasi, who had received his clearance from NA-53 a day earlier, failed to receive the go-ahead to run from NA-57 (Murree) as the objections raised by petitioner Masood Ahmed Abbasi against the PML-N leader’s papers, including that of tampering with his nomination papers, were accepted by the tribunal.
The petitioner argued that Abbasi had first attached a Rs100 stamp paper with his papers and added a Rs500 stamp paper later on.
He had also accused Abbasi of illegally occupying the Lawrence College forest and understating the ownership of his house in F-7/2.
The constituency’s returning officer (RO), who had originally accepted Abbasi’s papers, was suspended after he admitted his error.
Abbasi guilty of concealment of facts: tribunal
In his written order on rejection of Abbasi, Judge Ibadur Rehman Lodhi said that the former premier was “guilty of concealment of facts and withholding of the complete information from his voters”. He also went on to declare that Abbasi was not qualified to be elected a member of parliament according to Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution.
Elaborating on the decision, the judge stated that Abbasi had declared the value of his house in Islamabad to be Rs300,000 but put it under mortgage against an amount of Rs24.7 million.
He also noted the discrepancies in two affidavits submitted by Abbasi as one had mentioned shares in Air Blue and Blue Pines Inn Murree, “after interpolation”, while the other did not.
Judge Rahman stated that the stance of the returning officer (RO) — who an inquiry has been initiated against — was different from that of Abbasi’s lawyer on the changes made to the affidavit.
Abbasi will now be able to challenge the decision in high court.
Fawad Chaudhry’s papers rejected
PTI Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry’s papers from NA-67 (Jhelum) were also rejected. Nonpayment of taxes on agricultural landholding and his name being Fawad Ahmed on his computerised national identity card were among the objections raised against his nomination papers by JDP candidate Fakhar Abbas Kazmi.
Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) leader Maulana Ashraf Jalali, whose nomination papers from NA-81 (Gujranwala) had earlier been accepted, saw that decision overturned as PML-N politician Atif’s objections against his papers were deemed valid.
Not mentioning his tax returns and not handing over his passport to the RO were among the objections raised against Jalali’s papers.
The ECP is scheduled to issue revised list of candidates tomorrow. The candidates may file an appeal before a three-member bench of the high court against the decision of the appellate tribunals.