islamabad -  The Appellate Tribunal of the Islamabad High Court Thursday directed the Returning Officer to appear before it in-person today (Friday) along with the relevant record regarding the rejection of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan’s nomination papers from NA-53 Islamabad.

The Tribunal comprising IHC judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani issued these directions while hearing a petition of PTI Chief Imran Khan challenging the dismissal of his nomination papers from NA-53 constituency of the federal capital.

During the hearing, Babar Awan, counsel for Imran, argued that the nomination papers of his client scrutinised on June 19 were rejected on weak grounds.

He stated that Imran Khan heads PTI, which is the largest political party and is waging a struggle for the provision of basic rights to the people of Pakistan.

He continued that his client neither concealed the facts nor misstated anything in the nomination papers, thus rejection of his nomination papers by the RO was an unjust decision and deserved to be set aside in the interest of justice.

In response to a question by Justice Kayani that why Imran Khan’s nomination papers were rejected, Babar answered that his nomination papers were turned down on flimsy grounds. He pleaded that the decision of the returning officer be set aside and he be directed to accept the nomination papers of PTI chief.

Later, Justice Kayani deferred the hearing till today (Friday) for further proceedings.

 The chairman of PTI filed the appeal against the orders of a Returning Officer (RO) who had earlier rejected his nomination papers as he did not mention in the affidavit that what important contribution he made for his previous constituency.

He stated in his appeal that admittedly the appellant heads the largest political party of the country therefore no funds/schemes/projects were allotted to him as both federal and Punjab governments were inimical towards him.

Imran filed the appeal under section 63(1) of the election act 2017 whereby decision of RO has been challenged.

In his appeal, the PTI chairman termed his party largest federal and republic force.

He adopted that his nomination papers were rejected on whimsical and unfounded grounds.

The RO rejected Imran’s nomination papers observing that, “While scrutinising the affidavit of candidate Imran, I found a clause-N of the affidavit made applicable for a class of candidates who served as elected members from any national and / or provincial assemblies and require information of their constituencies in as much as the detailed facts/instances of their important contributions for the benefit of their said constituencies like him from NA-56 in the year 2013-2018. These important contributions for the voters benefit of said constituencies may have included their rights under part-II of the Constitution of 1973 and /are fund based.

The requirement of this clause in the affidavit of candidate Imran despite being wholly applicable is not answered/ completed as the same is left blank / unattended. The affidavit is not duly filled in the way it was so required as per the spirit of directions of Supreme Court. So, leaving me with no option but to presume that the affidavit being incomplete in its filing”.

 Khan contended that the order of RO is unattainable and appellant neither concealed any fact nor made any wrong declaration and therefore the penalty inflicted is against all norms of justice.

He argued that appellant was not allotted with any project /scheme but he continued his services as a philanthropist in the fields of cancer cure and higher education.

Reference can be made to Shaukat Khanum hospitals in Lahore, Peshawar and NAMAL University in Mainwali.

He added that the appellant wilfully did not conceal any facts and the penalty being imposed at him is unjustified, unprecedented and harsh.

He also expressed his willingness to rectify the required entry in clause (N) of the affidavit. Therefore, Imran prayed to the tribunal to set aside the RO’s orders with all legal consequences to meet the ends of justice.