ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Tuesday suspended the victory notification of Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, chief of Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), from NA-89, Jhang.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was hearing the petition of Sheikh Akram against the decision of election tribunal and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The election tribunal, Faisalabad, had declared ASWJ leader winner from NA-89 and disqualified Sheikh Muhammad Akram, MNA of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), for not mentioning in his nomination form that an FIR had been registered against him for being bank defaulter and other cases.

The tribunal also directed the ECP to issue notification of Ludhianvi, runner-up candidate, as winner from NA-89. The ECP on the directions of the tribunal notified ASWJ leader as winner.

During the proceeding, the apex court observed that the tribunal while passing order did not give enough reasons for the disqualification. It also said that the tribunal’s decision did not take into account the ground realities in the constituency and the number of votes each candidate received. The bench issued notices to all the respondents and asked the tribunal to re-evaluate the situation and inform the court within three months.

Akram, who is the father of former MNA Sheikh Waqas Akram, secured 74,324 votes. Akram’s son had earlier withdrawn nomination papers in favour of his father. Ludhianvi, who is also the ASWJ chief, managed to secure 71,598 votes. The NA-89 has long been an ASWJ hub.

“The bench today suspended the order of the election tribunal disqualifying Shaikh Mohammad Akram and the notification by Election Commission of Pakistan declaring Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi a returned candidate,” a court official told AFP. The court would hear the appeal in three months time, he added.

Akram’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan argued that the tribunal could not declare the runner-up as victor because when a candidate was disqualified, a fresh election should be held.