ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court will announce its judgment today on an appeal filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khwaja Saad Rafique wherein he had requested for setting aside the election tribunal’s decision regarding deseating him from the National Assembly. The election tribunal had also ordered for re-polling in the constituency NA-125 wherein Rafique was declared to be returning candidate.

On May 4 of 2015, the election tribunal, on complaint of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Hamid Khan, had ordered for re-election in Lahore’s NA-125 after irregularities were proven during the 2013 general elections. Rafique had secured 123,416 votes while Hamid Khan had obtained 84,495 votes from NA-125 constituency. However, Rafique moved an appeal against the said decision in the top court which in May 2015 suspended the decision of the tribunal.

The top court had on March 19 reserved its judgment on the appeal of PML-N leader. A two-judge bench headed by Sheikh Azmat Saeed will announce the judgment today on the appeal filed by Rafique. “The operation of the impugned order is suspended till final decision by this court,” former Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, while heading a three-member bench. The interim order of the SC had allowed the PML-N leader to retain his ministerial portfolio.

The Supreme Court had also asked the election tribunal to submit the complete trial record and issued notices to the ECP secretary, the returning officer for NA-125 and other respondents, including the PTI candidate Hamid Khan, who had lost the election Rafique, in his appeal, had argued that the tribunal’s order was illegal and without lawful jurisdiction. The appeal had contended that tribunal’s order was based on gross misconception of law and principles warranting interferences in the election matters and de-seating of an elected representative of the people.

“The May 4 order is violative of the established principles of the law repeatedly laid down by the Supreme Court with respect to the sanctity attached to the electoral process and the quality and quantum of evidence required for declaring an election to be void as a whole,” the petitioner said. The tribunal’s findings were based on surmises and not tenable in the eyes of the law, the appeal contended.

15-page appeal had stated, “PTI candidate Hamid Khan failed to prove the case as pleaded by him in front of the election tribunal and therefore the judgment is against the law.”  It added that the election tribunal had misconstrued the law.