LAHORE – The LHC on Thursday okayed ex-spymaster Ijaz Shah to contest elections from NA-137, a constituency of Nankana Sahib district, after dismissing an appeal challenging his nomination papers.

Advocate Naveed Shaheen had challenged nomination papers of Ijaz Shah by submitting that Ijaz was a close aide of former military ruler Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf.

The appellant had submitted that at the request of Musharraf he had pressurized Chief Justice of Pakistan to tender resignation and also involved in getting the residences of the judges bugged.

The lawyer stated that the RO of NA-137, Nankana Sahib accepted nomination papers of Ijaz Shah without any justification. He said allowing such person to sit in assembly would be a national calamity. Petitioner asked the court to set aside the decision of the RO and restrain Shah from contesting the elections.

The bench headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that the respondent (Shah) was not a convict by any court of law. The court could not take action without any cogent evidence; the bench observed and dismissed the petition.

‘Unassociated’ referee: Raja Riaz Ahmad, former leader of opposition in Punjab Assembly on Thursday, requested the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court to review the decision of the appointment of Khawja Najamul Hassan as referee judge in the Hudebia Paper Mills’due to his well-known acquaintances with the Sharif family and the Justice(Rtd) Khawja Mohammad Sharif.

Both Khawja Najamul Hassan and Khawja Mohammad Sharif were juniors of Khawja Sultan Ahmed who was family lawyer of Sharifs besides very close to the family.

In a statement, Raja also suggested that the judge should himself regret voluntarily and disassociate himself from the case for the sake of justice.He said that the verdict of the referee judge was considered as final in such cases therefore he should be more neutral among the neutrals to meet the imperatives of justice and fair play.

The PPP leader recalled that the Sharif brothers were defaulters of Rs3.48 billion Hudebia Paper Mills case as stated by Ishaq Dar, PML(N) leader, in his judicial confessional statement that further testified that Sharifs were also involved in money laundering.

He said that the case had already been delayed considerably for more than twelve years mainly due to Sharif’s departure into exile as a result of an agreement with General Musharraf and committed not to take part in country’s politics for the period of ten years.

He said that the case was of immense importance because under the articles 62 and 63 of the constitution a loan defaulter could not contest election and in this case may come under the category of willful defaulters.

Raja urged that the final decision should be announced as early as possible but not later than the end of current month because the decision would send strong message to all those who were notorious to enjoy luxurious life at the expense of public money.

He said that the decision was of paramount importance for the future public office holders as well who must refrain from taking the public exchequer for granted. It is a sacred trust which should be perceived so adding the decision will serve as a powerful deterrence to potential plunderers, he maintained.