LAHORE  -  The Lahore High Court Friday allowed PML-N leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to contest the upcoming general election from his home constituency, Murree’s NA-57, suspending the decision of an election tribunal which had disqualified him for life.

A division bench, headed by Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, passed the order and issued notices to the federal government as well as Election Commission of Pakistan for July 2.

The appellate tribunal, presided over by Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi at Rawalpindi bench of the high court, had disqualified former prime minister Abbasi for not being Sadiq and Ameen under Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution and had rejected his nomination papers.

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was also present in the courtroom while his counsel, Khawaja Tariq Rahim, represented him. The counsel argued the appellate tribunal only had the right to accept or reject nomination papers, but it could not disqualify a candidate for life. The appellate bench, the counsel said, had acted beyond its jurisdiction as it could not become a constitutional court. He said his client had presented complete record of his assets in the nomination papers.

After hearing the arguments of the petitioner’s counsel, the bench allowed Abbasi to contest election from his home constituency, NA-57, Murree.

Abbasi also appeared before another three-member bench in connection with hearing of several petitions against him and disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif in an interview case. He said he had come to know about it through the media and had not received any court notice.

The former premier requested the bench to adjourn the case for a date after July 25. The court appreciated him for appearing before the court and accepted his request. The court issued fresh notices to him and journalist Cyril Almeida.

Later, talking to reporters, Abbasi said he never disclosed minutes of the National Security Council’s meeting to anyone and claimed he always respected his oath.

“I, being a responsible person, never violated his oath,” said Abbasi. “I never shared minutes of the National Security’s meeting with anyone.”

Abbasi said he respected courts and would appear whenever he was summoned. The process of election should not be controversial because it paved the way for democracy. He questioned the rejection of nomination papers on technical grounds, saying the papers were not rejected on such grounds anywhere in the world.

Abbasi said July 25 was the day when the whole nation would give its decision. He said PML-N would win all the seats from the province. Talking about the references against Sharifs, he claimed Nawaz was facing the trial in the case in which he was not even nominated. He said Nawaz Sharif appeared before the accountability courts many times. He said he had no hope for justice to Nawaz Sharif from the accountability court.

Ahsan Iqbal also came down hard on PTI Chairman Imran Khan, calling him “naïve” and “inexperienced”. “Khan took U-turn twice in the matter of caretaker CM,” said Iqbal. He said the entire nation had been running the election campaign of PML-N.

“Corrupt people are Sadiq and Ameen whereas those who served the nation are appearing before the courts,” Ahsan said, adding the polling day would expose the strength of Imran Khan. It was first time that a former PM and a former interior minister appeared before the court at the same time, he added.



LHC lifts disqualification

of Abbasi