LAHORE  -  An appellate election tribunal of the Lahore High Court on Saturday allowed the appeal moved by former finance minister Ishaq Dar, challenging rejection of his nomination papers for the Senate election.

Ishaq Dar who is currently in London undergoing medical treatment was declared an absconder by an accountability court in a corruption case in December last year. His nomination papers for the Senate election were rejected, however, an appellate election tribunal of the Lahore High Court, allowed Dar to contest the Senate election to be held on March 3.

Ishaq Dar moved his appeal through Special Attorney Naseer Ahmad Bhutta advocate while Salman Aslam appeared on his behalf before the tribunal.

The appellant said the returning officer rejected his nomination papers without thoroughly ascertaining the facts. He said the returning officer was bound to properly scrutinise the nomination papers required under the Representation of People’s Act, 1976, but he failed to do so. He contended legal formalities were also not followed by the RO while rejecting his nomination papers. He prayed to the court to set aside the decision of the returning officer and allow him to contest the Senate election.

A returning officer had rejected the nomination papers of Ishaq Dar on February 12 on a petition moved by Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed. The RO rejected his papers on the basis of the discrepancy found in his signatures.

Earlier, in his petition before the RO, Rasheed had submitted that Dar had been facing corruption charges and had also been declared an absconder by an anti-terrorism court. The petitioner had also questioned signatures of Dar on his nomination papers.

Talking to The Nation, Rasheed said they would challenge the tribunal’s decision before the Lahore High Court because Dar did not meet the criterion set by articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

“I have just got free from our party’s meeting and come to know about the decision through a TV channel. I’ll ask my counsel Anees Hashmi to challenge the tribunal’s decision,” Rasheed said. “This is not acceptable to us,” he further said.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, a lawyer who had also questioned process of scrutiny for the Senate election, vowed to challenge the acceptance of Ishaq Dar’s nomination papers for the upper house election.

“How can an absconder contest the Senate election?” said Azhar Siddique, adding Dar is facing corruption cases and is accused of money laundering. He questioned the scrutiny process which, according to him, cannot stop defaulters from becoming members of the upper house.

Azhar said he would file a petition in the Lahore High Court on Monday to challenge the decision of the election tribunal regarding acceptance of the nomination papers of Ishaq Dar.

He contended the ECP did not share information about the contesting candidates on its websites despite the clear orders of the Supreme Court. He said he approached the ECP to provide information about tax defaulters and those having dual nationality, but he was not provided with the required information.

“They asked me to know the status of dual nationals on the website of the interior ministry,” said Azhar, questioning how the ECP can say he should consult the interior ministry’s website. It was the responsibility of the ECP under the law to provide information about contesting candidates, he added.

Meanwhile, an appellate tribunal of the Lahore High Court yesterday dismissed the appeals challenging acceptance of nomination papers of two PML-N candidates, Nuzhat Sadiq and Sadia Abbasi, sister of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The election tribunal comprising Justice Aminuddin Khan took up the appeals moved by PTI leader Andleeb Abbas and others. The appellant argued the respondents did not mention their assets and liabilities as well as their spouses although they were bound to do so under Representation of People’s Act, 1976.

The appellant said the respondents also concealed the details of their income tax and wealth tax. She submitted that by concealing the facts, the respondents violated the law, so they should be declared ineligible to contest the Senate election.





ET allows Dar to contest Senate election