ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan has reserved judgment in a case pertaining to rigging in the Lahore’s constituency NA-125.

The appeal was filed by Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique against an election tribunal’s decision, which had disqualified him from the NA-125 constituency.

However, in May 2015, the Supreme Court had suspended the decision of the tribunal, wherein it had de-seated Rafique and ordered for re-election in Lahore’s NA-125 constituency.

“The operation of the impugned order is suspended pending a decision by this court,” ordered then 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.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed on Monday took up the appeal for hearing.

During the course of hearing, counsel for Hamid Khan argued that the staff of NA-125 was changed a day before polling, which was a violation of election rules, adding that Form-14 were filled illegally.

Justice Saeed however, reminded the counsel that he started arguments again, which could prolong the decision and it could go beyond the next election.

Khawaja Haris, the counsel representing Saad Rafique , informed the bench that no objections were submitted against alleged violation of the polling scheme.

He further contended that an impression was given that election record was not provided to the RO and other official concerned, while all the record was provided to the RO.

Haris further contended that it was alleged that number of Form-14 were missing but the same points were not raised in the tribunal.

Following the arguments, the bench reserved its judgement.

Rafique, in his appeal, had argued that the tribunal’s order was manifestly illegal and without lawful authority because it 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.

Rafique had argued that the tribunal’s findings were based on mere conjectures and surmises and as such was not tenable in the eyes of the law.