–Imran’s lawyer claims client neither concealed facts nor misstated anything in nomination papers, terms RO’s decision ‘unjust’
ISLAMABAD: The election tribunal on Thursday directed the returning officer (RO) of Islamabad’s NA-53 constituency to submit the complete record of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s nomination papers.
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani took up Imran’s plea challenging the dismissal of his nomination papers from the federal capital’s NA-53 constituency.
As Justice Kayani took up Imran’s plea, PTI chief’s counsel Babar Awan informed the court that Imran heads Pakistan’s largest political party and is waging a struggle for the basic rights of people.
The judge inquired why the RO disqualified Imran from the constituency, at which, Babar responded that his rejection was on “flimsy grounds”.
The appellate tribunal while issuing a notice to RO directed him to submit the entire record till Friday.
His nomination papers were scrutinised on June 19 and were rejected on weak grounds, the counsel added. Awan further argued that Imran did not hide any facts nor lied. Awan claimed the petitioner neither concealed the facts nor misstated anything in the nomination papers and termed the RO’s decision unjust. He pleaded the judge to dismiss the RO’s decision and order the acceptance of Imran’s nomination papers.
The hearing was then adjourned until Friday, with court directions to the RO to appear in person along with the relevant record.
While talking to the media after the hearing, Babar expressed hope that if Allah wills Imran will become MNA from NA-53 and the next prime minister.
Appeals against decisions of the ROs can be filed in the relevant appellate tribunals by June 22.
On Tuesday, which was the last day of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) scrutiny of nomination papers, the PTI chief’s candidacy was also rejected from NA-95 (Mianwali). However, Imran’s nomination papers were accepted from NA-35 (Bannu), NA-131 (Lahore) and NA-243 (Karachi).
While Imran cleared the major obstacle of objections to his candidature filed by former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Chaudhry’s party candidate as well as by Gulalai, his papers were rejected for filing an incomplete affidavit with his papers.
The PTI chief, as well as Abbasi and Gulalai, failed to list important contributions they made in their former constituencies. Imran left the entry under Clause N of the affidavit blank and thus failed to comply with the requirement of filing completed papers.
“The affidavit is not duly filled in the way it was required as per the spirit of the direction. So leaving me with no option but to presume the affidavit being incomplete in its filing,” returning officer Mohammad Adnan observed in his written order.
Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governor Mehtab Ahmed Khan also failed to meet the requirement in the affidavit and met the same fate as Imran. The judge observed that by leaving out this crucial information, the candidates had deprived the voters in the constituency to inspect these details and object to them if needed.
The decisions on all the appeals will be made by June 27, after which the revised list of the candidates will be shared on June 28.
The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be June 29.
Moreover, the date for allocation of electoral symbols and publication of the final list of contesting candidates will be June 30. Polling for general election 2018 will be held on July 25.