LAHORE - A lawyer has approached the Lahore High Court challenging nomination papers of former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and others as well as process of scrutiny of the candidates submitting papers for upcoming Senate Election.

Azhar Siddique moved the petition who questioned the candidacy of Ishaq Dar. He said that how an absconder could be allowed to contest Senate election. He said that he had been facing corruption charges.  The Returning Officer rightly rejected his nomination papers, the lawyer said. He further said Hafiz Abdul Karim’s documents were also rejected because of concealing assets.

Azhar said that election tribunal allowed them to contest Senate’ election despite that both the candidates concealed their assets, foreign tours and correct details of bank accounts in their nomination papers. Both the candidates did not meet the criteria set by Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. He asked the court to set aside decision of the tribunal and to restrain the respondents from contesting Senate elections.

In another petition which has been pending adjudication before a single bench of the Lahore High Court he had already challenged nomination papers of Shaheen Khalid Butt, Rana Maqbool, Sadia Abbasi, Nuzhat Sadiq, Mushahid Hussain, Zubair Gull, Ahmad Saeed Kirmani and Hafiz Abdul Karim of PML-N besides Ch Muhammad Sarwar of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. He objected to process of scrutiny for Senate election alleging that ‘malafide amendments’ were introduced through Election Act 2017 to protect defaulters, corrupt as well as those having dual nationality.

He stated that  on Oct 2, 2017, the parliament passed the impugned Election Act 2017 and omitted clauses relating to several declarations required in nomination papers for the contesting candidates.  The lawyer pointed out that columns which had earlier been introduced related to loan defaults/loan write–offs,  assets, dual nationality, non-payment of utility charges, land revenue record for the last three assessment/financial years. Income tax paid by the candidates had been deleted from the nomination paper under the impugned act, he said.

He also submitted that the essential details of the candidates should be provided in the columns of the nomination papers but all the parties ensured non-disclosure of such details which showed malafide intention on their part.

The petitioner said that complete and vital information was required from the contesting candidates while non-provision of that vital information was violation of the Constitution. They were bound to provide information about payment of taxes and loans not paid or waived off.  He alleged that the impugned Election Act, 2017 provided cover to the parties and their candidates as the scrutiny process was ‘defective’, and it was not as required by Article 62 and Article 63 of the Constitution. Therefore, he pleaded the court that it would be against the spirit of the Constitution if the Senate election was held under the impugned law and it would also cause damage to the sanctity and legality of the election.  He prayed the court to stay the upcoming election of the upper house till repeal of the errors made in the Election Act, 2017.  The court would resume hearing on Tuesday (today)

ATC declares MQM London

chief absconder

An anti-terrorism court on Monday declared Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)-London chief Altaf Hussain an absconder and issued his perpetual arrest warrants for delivering anti-state speeches. ATC-Judge Sajjad Ahmad passed the order after police informed the court that the defendant was in London on self exile and the summons had not been served on him.

Amina Malik, a member of civil society network, had got registered an FIR against Altaf Hussain three years ago after he addressed his workers through a television and did anti-state institution speech. He targeted army and rangers in his address.  The complainant said MQM-London chief Hussain had been inciting citizens against the country. She said the respondent tarnished the image of Pakistan in the world by his acts.   She said speeches of Hussain were tantamount to treason and he should be tried under the treason charge. The petitioner asked the court to hold his trial under treason charges.

LHC reserves verdict on LHCBA Multan President’s contempt

Lahore High Court Bar Association-Multan President Sher Zaman Qureshi appeared before the Lahore High Court first time since he was issued contempt notices by LHC former Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

A full bench headed by Chief Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali was hearing the matter.  Qureshi said he had great respect for the courts and he never thought of disrespecting them.  He also submitted his written reply before the bench. 

The former Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah had initiated contempt proceedings against Qureshi and another lawyer for misbehaving Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan at Multan seat, obstructing judicial work and ransacking the court premises before ripping off the name plate of the judge during an incident took place on July 24, 2017.  However, Qureshi never appeared before the court and his supporters held protest on each hearing of the case. On one occasion, the lawyers’ protest turned violent and they clashed with security officials and broke past judges’ gate of the high court.

He was also issued non-bailable arrest warrants but was withdrawn on the request of the some senior bar’s leaders who promised to make him produce. But he refused to appear before the court.

Later, Qureshi before Supreme Court when Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of the contempt proceedings on his personal appeal.  The CJP heard Qureshi’ appeal and directed LHC registrar to submit report on the matter. The SC also expected that the larger bench of the high would not hold its further proceedings and wait for the decision. 

On Monday, after submission of Qureshi’s written reply, the bench  reserved the verdict on the contempt proceedings.