ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Thursday hinted at ordering re-election on the National Assembly constituency in Lodharan-I if disqualification issue is settled.

Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heading a three-judge bench, asked Siddique Khan Baloch’s counsel whether his client would be ready to go for re-election if disqualification issue is settled. He, however, made it clear that they are not “carving way-out for a compromise”.

The bench was hearing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate’s application against the election tribunal judgment which annulled victory of Baloch in general elections. He was disqualified for corrupt and illegal practices and holding fake degree.

Siddique Baloch had contested 2013 general elections as an independent candidate, defeated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Secretary General Jahangir Tareen and joined the PML-N after the victory. He was later not only unseated but also debarred form contesting elections in the future by the election tribunal.

Shahzad Shoukat, representing Baloch, said they are ready to go back to the voters but asked the bench to let him take instruction from his client. “My client was disqualified on the grounds that he could not answer the questions like when he did BA and metric and what were the subjects in the BA etc during the cross-examination,” he told the court.

Justice Saqib questioned whether a person could be debarred permanently if he is unable to reply such queries. He asked the counsels of both the parties to assist the court on the legal aspect of the case as they would lay down a law about it. He remarked that there is no concrete evidence about the fake education documents of Baloch.

Tareen’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan said the issue is not whether Baloch is disqualified on the basis of lack of his knowledge about his degrees but it is the matter for the court to decide “whether a man like Baloch should be allowed to sit in the parliament as a representative of people”.

Addressing Justice Saqib, the lawyer said that yesterday (Wednesday) the “word hurt used by my lord (Justice Saqib) has perturbed me… (as a common citizen and) as counsel of this court”, as he referred to court remarks that PTI’s giving an impression on media that it was providing a cover to PML-N candidate by issuing a stay order on the tribunal judgment was hurtful.

Makhdoom said he had spoken to his client who had denied having expressed an opinion that gave such reflection in any way.

The lawyer said Tareen’s comments were not directed toward the court but to him (Baloch) who has reneged on public pronouncement to contest the elections but later instead of facing the people in election had taken refuge in the legal proceedings.

Earlier, Shahzad Shoukat explained the grounds of his client’s dismissal. He said that the Nadra verified 90 per cent votes of NA-154 but 20,600 votes could not be checked as there was no Computerised National Identity Card numbers on the counterfoil of ballot books.

He stated that the 20,600 votes were not from one polling station of the NA-154 but from all the polling stations of the constituency, so it does not prove that the polling staff was on Baloch’s side. The case was adjourned till Monday (October 26).