ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Monday suspended the verdict of an election tribunal that nullified Qasim Khan Suri’s election to the National Assembly.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprised Justice Faisal Arbab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, heard the appeal filed by Qasim Suri and issued notices to the parties in the case. The decision was earlier passed by an election tribunal of the Balochistan High Court (BHC).

During the course of proceedings, the court also suspended the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to denotify him as a member of the National Assembly.

The court also asked the election commission not to issue the election schedule for NA-265 (Quetta-II).

Advocate Naeem Bukhari counsel for Qasim Suri said according to National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) report, 1,533 were wrong identity cards, 368 were incomplete, 123 were duplicate, 183 were without thumb impression while 100 were unregistered votes which totally counted 3,198 while his client won the election with a margin of 5,585 votes.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan said 19 witnesses had told the election tribunal that they were sent out the premises at the time of votes counting. Naeem Bukhari said finger prints on 49,000 votes were correct. Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan responded that the quality of 52,000 finger prints was not appropriate.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the court would hear the appeal but in the meantime the constituency should not be without a representative. The court after hearing arguments suspended the election tribunal’s verdict and restored Qasim Suri as a Member of National Assembly (MNA). Later, hearing of the case was adjourned till date in office.