ISLAMABAD    -     The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan, secretaries of the law ministry and parliamentary affairs on Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad’s petition, challenging the removal of some clauses in the nomination form for Senate elections under Election Act 2017. IHC judge Aamer Farooq also directed the Attorney General for Pakistan to appear before the court at the next hearing. The IHC bench also directed the respondents — the ECP, secretaries of the law ministry and parliamentary affairs — to submit their replies and deferred the hearing for one-week. Rasheed through his counsel Barrister Sajeel Sheryar Swati has sought court intervention to come to the rescue of the voter and the democratic system for the enforcement of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19 and 19-A of the Constitution for the protection of the voter’s freedom of expression and right to information when it comes to the election of parliamentary candidates. He has contended that the nomination form, shaped under the Election Act, 2017 for candidates, has omitted or modified numerous declarations and entries existed in the previous nomination form. “The modification of entries relating to declaration of financial disclosure run contrary to Para (n) and (o) of sub Article (1) of Article 63 of the Constitution which disqualify a person from membership of parliament if the candidate, his spouse or any of his dependents, are defaulters of loan or government dues,” said the petitioner. According to the petitioner, by removing the declaration relating to the disclosure of any dual nationality or foreign passport, or recent visits to foreign countries, the candidates can now conceal any ties he or she may have with a foreign country. He has adopted that a smaller amount of details have been sought from a candidate in the new form, the petitioner said, praying the court to declare that the voter has the fundamental right to have detailed information about a contesting candidate under Article 19 and 19-A of the Constitution and such a right cannot be curtailed and limited by a legislature fiat. He has contended that the court may declare that the requirement for a candidate to furnish the necessary information was mandatory and the said requirement should be made part of the act to ensure the full protection of the fundamental rights. The petitioner also requested the court to direct the secretary parliamentary affairs to use its powers under Article 218(3) of the Constitution to seek necessary information about the particulars, credentials and details of the contesting candidates through a duly sworn affidavit and declare the same to be made an integral part of the nomination form.