LAHORE - The PPP’s candidate, who was trying to oust Begum Kalsoom Nawaz from the electoral race for NA-120 by challenging the acceptance of her nomination papers, received a setback on Wednesday when the three-judge bench of the Lahore High Court that was to decide the matter ceased to exist as one of its members opted out of it citing personal reasons.

Now the matter has been referred to the registrar office for constitution of a new bench. However, there is no timeline for constitution of a new bench. On the other hand, the by-election for the seat, that fell vacant because of the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, is scheduled for Sept 17.

Justice Muhammad Farrukh Irfan Khan, the head of the bench, declined for personal reasons hearing of the petition moved by PPP candidate Faisal Mir. Justice Khan is the same judge whose name had also appeared in Panama Papers.

Justice Muhammad Kazim Raza Shamsi and Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi were the other members of the bench.   

Faisal Mir, the petitioner candidate, had moved the election petition challenging order of the Election Tribunal which dismissed all petitions against the candidature of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz for the said constituency. The petitioner candidate had made Election Tribunal as party in the case.  He said he was a candidate for NA-120 seat but Begum Kalsoom, one of his rivals, was not a right person to contest on the same seat. He said returning officer of NA-120 had accepted her nomination papers despite she concealed facts about her assets and financial resources.

Bearing witness to Allah Almighty, she claimed that she and her spouse both did not have company in any corner of the world which was a big lie, the petitioner alleged. He said she showed herself as dependent on Mian Nawaz Sharif but the fact was that she had shares in various companies.

He alleged that Kalsoom’s oath about assets owned by her and her spouse was a joke with the entire nation. He asked the court to set aside decision of the returning officer regarding acceptance of nomination papers of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz in NA-120.

In another similar development, Pakistan Awami Tehreek also challenged candidature of Kalsoom before the Lahore High Court. Ishtiaq Chaudhry, who was also PAT’s candidate for by-election of NA-120, filed the petition submitting that Kalsoom concealed an FIR on treason charges registered against her during Musharraf regime.

He said she also concealed her assets and income in the nomination papers. He said she told a lie while showing herself as a dependent on her spouse Nawaz Sharif despite she had shares in many companies. 

She concealed her agreement and salary for a UAE Iqama (work permit) attached with her nomination papers, the petitioner said. Chaudhry said Kalsoom also did not disclose details of agriculture income tax and Murree residence. The petitioner said that the RO accepted her nomination papers by ignoring all these facts. He prayed the court to set aside his decision and reject her nomination papers.