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ET rejects papers of Abro, Rauf and Khizer Zaidi – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: An Election Tribunal Monday rejected the nominations of three key nominees for Senate elections from Sindh — one from the ruling party at the centre; Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and two from its ally Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P).

Election Tribunal in Karachi comprising of Justice Agha Faisal from Sindh High Court (SHC) rejected the nominations of PTI’s Saifullah Abro, and MQM-P’s Rauf Siddiqui and Khizer Askar Zaidi. All of them were awarded tickets on Technocrat seats from Sindh.

Hearing appeals against acceptance/rejection of Senate nominations, the ET dismissed the decision of Returning Officer/Provincial Election Commissioner Sindh Aijaz Anwer Chohan and rejected the nomination of PTI’s Abro while deciding in favour of petitioner Ghulam Mustafa Memon represented by his counsel Rasheed Rizvi. Memon challenged Abro’s nomination, questioning his eligibility for being awarded Technocrat seat ticket.

The petitioner alleged that some criminal cases were registered against Abro and he faced a corruption reference in National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “He (Abro) is a contractor—on what grounds has a contractor been given the ticket of Senate for Technocrat seat?” questioned Rizvi, the petitioner’s counsel. He also alleged that the assets of the respondent ‘increased manifolds’ from 2018 to 2021.

Advocate Haider Waheed, Abro’s counsel, said, there was no ‘serious’ criminal case registered against his client. Regarding NAB’s reference, he said, Abro’s name was removed from Exit Control List (ECL). The PTI leader, he said, is affiliated with construction sector and there is nothing illegal regarding increase in his assets. “All his assets are accounted for and declared. There is nothing hidden,” he said. Abro’s counsel also claimed that his client “successfully completed 30 mega projects in 20 years which itself is a national success.”

After hearing both the sides, the ET rejected Abro’s nomination for Senate polls.

The ET also rejected the nominations of MQM-P’s Siddiqui and Askari, questioning their eligibility to be awarded tickets for Senate’s Technocrat seats, and upheld the decision of RO Chohan.

In Punjab, ET in Lahore comprising of Justice Shahid Waheed from Lahore High Court (LHC) admitted the petition of Pervaiz Rashid from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) against rejection of his nomination papers by RO/PEC Punjab Ghulam Israr Khan. The RO rejected Rashid’s nomination papers on the grounds that he did not pay outstanding dues of Rs 9.5 million to Punjab House. PTI’s Member Provincial Assembly (Punjab) Zainab Umair challenged Rashid’s nomination papers. Rashid insisted that he had cleared all the pending dues of Punjab House. However, the outgoing senator failed to provide any documentary proof to justify this claim, following which his nomination was rejected.

On Monday, the ET directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to explain its stance along with the relevant record today (Tuesday) regarding rejection of Rashid’s nomination.

Meanwhile, appeals were moved against the acceptance of nomination papers of Federal Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda, Palwasha Khan from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and others, in ET Sindh.

Today (Tuesday) is the final day of the two-day process for ETs to hear and decide and appeals against acceptance/rejection of Senate nominations, as per Senate elections’ schedule announced by ECP.

Revised list of Senate nominations would be issued on February 24, and February 25 would be last date for withdrawal of candidature (if any). March 3 is polling day, according to ECP schedule.

Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja has assured the political parties that ECP would try to accommodate their recommendations in Code of Conduct to be devised for Senate polls. He extended this assurance Monday while presiding over a consultative meeting with political parties regarding ECP Code of Conduct for Senate polls. At the meeting, the CEC said every effort would be made to ensure transparency in Senate polls and no foul play would be tolerated in this regard. Secretary ECP Dr Akhtar Nazir and Special Secretary ECP Zafar Iqbal Hussain as well as others senior officials from ECP and leaders from different political parties attended the meeting.

The appellate bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday issued notices to the Election Commission and Faisal Vawda, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate for Senate election, in an appeal against acceptance of his nomination papers to contest polls for the upper house of the parliament.

The appellate bench of the SHC comprising Justice Agha Faisal ordered Faisal Vawda to appear by seeking the comments for hearing of the appeal scheduled for Tuesday.

Qadir Khan Mandokhel challenged the acceptance of nomination papers of Vawda.

Rasheed A Rizvi, lawyer of Mandokhel, presented his arguments and produced the documents of dual nationality of Vawda before the bench.

Mandokhel submitted that Vawda concealed his dual nationality in the nomination papers and argued acceptance of his nomination papers was illegal and unconstitutional.

The bench also dismissed the appeal of Rauf Siddiqui, a candidate of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), against the decision of the returning officer who had rejected his nomination papers for contesting the Senate election.

The bench also upheld the decision of the returning officer who rejected the nomination papers of MQM-P’s candidate Khizar Zaidi for technocrat’s seat in the Senate.

The bench declared Dr. Shahab Imam of MQM-P eligible for contesting the election of Senate by rejecting an appeal against the acceptance of his nomination papers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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