ISLAMABAD - An appellate tribunal on Tuesday allowed former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor Sardar Mehtab Abbasi and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-Gulalai (PTI-G) chief Ayesha Gulalai to contest the upcoming general election from Islamabad’s NA-53 seat.

At the same time, the tribunal directed Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan to appear in person before it on Wednesday (today) to submit an affidavit related to clause N.

The election tribunal comprising IHC judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani issued the decisions while hearing appeals of candidates who had moved the tribunal against rejection of their nomination papers by the returning officer (RO). 

The RO had objected to minor defects in their nomination papers but the tribunal rejected those objections and observed that under Section 62 of the Elections Act 2017, such defects may be overlooked.

On Tuesday, the tribunal decided 20 appeals out of 31 while the former prime minister appeared in person before the tribunal.

Talking to the media, Abbasi said that he was elected eight times from his constituency and elaborated (before the tribunal) the development work he carried out in his constituency. He said that now the people will decide his fate.

The former prime minister criticized the arrest of PML-N candidate Qamar-ul-Islam who is contesting election against Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. He said that his arrest by the National Accountability Bureau was quite unfortunate and raised questions over the transparency of elections. Abbasi termed his arrest pre-poll rigging. 

He claimed that he worked for the people of his constituency and never associated himself with any dictator. “I never changed my political party and did not support undemocratic forces,” said the former premier.

He said that PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif appeared before the accountability court for more than 100 times. He said that justice should not only be done in his case but it should also be seen. 

Raising a question on the transparency of the general election, he said that there were serious doubts about the elections being free and fair.

Earlier, the RO had rejected Abbasi’s nomination papers saying “while scrutinizing the affidavit of candidate Shahid, 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-36 and NA 50 in year 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2008, 2013. 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 Shahid despite being wholly applicable is not answered/ completed as the same is filled in with the personal qualities of candidate Shahid such as; (1) his integrity (2) lessening of his assets; (3) he, a taxpayer; (4) does not change loyalties” etc.

Similarly, in the election appeal against Imran Khan’s nomination papers, Sheikh Ahsanuddin, a legal counsel for Justice and Democratic Party headed by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, said that an American court had ruled that Tyrian was his daughter and the PTI chief never denied or accepted the American court’s decision.

The tribunal asked the counsel whether Khan has mentioned his daughter in the nomination papers. The counsel replied that he did not. 

The counsel said that he was not contending that Imran Khan should either accept or deny Tyrian being his daughter but he should have had taken a position against the judgment of an American court. “When it is being said that Imran Khan has been declared Sadiq and Amin by the Supreme Court, then there is a question that whether or not a declared Sadiq and Amin could lie in the future,” he argued. 

He said that Khan’s ex-wife Jemima in her tweets accepted Tyrian as her step daughter. Babar Awan, the counsel for Khan, said that it was for the first time that Pakistani courts declared someone as Sadiq and Amin. 

He said that the applicant did not have any attested documents to support his contentions.

At this juncture, the tribunal inquired from the JDP counsel whether he has any attested documents? To which, he replied in the negative. Awan said that in the American court’s judgment, there was no mention of Imran Khan. “Tyrian is a 26-year-old lady who is not saying that Imran is her father while every other is saying the same,” he said. 

He said that she also has not mentioned her surname being ‘Khan’ as well. At this, the JDP counsel said that he has submitted his contentions within the parameters of morality and he was expecting such arguments from Awan.

About Khan’s leaving the clause-N empty, his counsel said that all other candidates have been allowed and his client requires the same treatment. Later, the tribunal deferred the hearing directing the PTI chief to personally appear and fill-in clause-N. 

Another application was also filed against Khan that said that he concealed his assets. In this regard, the tribunal issued notices to the officials of the Federal Board of Revenue.