Elections roundup: Disqualifications and requalifications

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The PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry managed to scrape by while another PML-N stalwart was sent packing as the string of disqualifications and requalifications of candidates continued on Thursday.

Chaudhry was let off the hook by the LHC which suspended the verdict of an appellate tribunal that had barred him for life from contesting elections. The same tribunal had also barred former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Legal experts had been sounding off all day yesterday saying that tribunals could only accept or reject nomination papers, not judge the sadaqat and amanat of a candidate. The LHC seems to have acknowledged this, but strangely enough only by letting Fawad Chauhdry off the hook and not Abbasi.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has made his party’s position on the matter clear – the disqualification of all candidates, regardless of party, is wrong. He will thus be hoping that the fresh precedent set by the LHC for Fawad Chaudhry is soon extended to Abbasi, whose fate still hangs in the balance.

But that wasn’t all from Mian Shehbaz, who also claimed that the NAB is trying to sabotage the league’s candidates by investigating them. But unfortunate as the timing might be, investigating is their job.

One is reminded of the time Hillary Clinton was put under investigation by the FBI in the final days of her Presidential campaign. But as FBI director Comey pointed out, timing and circumstances cannot be allowed to dictate protocol, and no election should come in the way of the NAB’s work.

One disqualification that isn’t going anywhere, however, is that of Daniyal Aziz. He was taken out by the Supreme Court, which found him guilty of contempt and disqualified him for the next five years.

Contempt seems to be a big issue these days, bigger even than terrorism, or at least that’s what it looked like when CM Hassan Askari Rizvi confirmed that ASWJ Chief Ahmed Ludhianvi’s name has been removed from the fourth schedule. This opens doors for him, and Aurangzeb Farooqi might just have company in the polls.

KISSING THE TURF:

A video of Imran Khan bowing and kissing the steps of a shrine in Pakpattan has sent some of his supporters into a stupor and the PML-N’s social media wing into overdrive. The allegation is that Imran prostrated himself in front of the saint’s grave, something frowned upon in mainstream Islam but commonplace amongst Barelvi frequenters of shrines.

As a sportsman, Imran is familiar with kissing the turf, but his upbringing has landed him with certain Deobandi sensibilities. As some pointed out, he seemed a little uncomfortable, going down on one knee instead of all fours seemingly more to follow his wife’s suite than anything else. Guess that’s just what you have to do when your spouse is also your pir.

MANIFESTOS:

The PPP has become the first major party to launch its manifesto after the MMA. Their campaign promise has been extended to Roti, kapra aur makaan; ilm, sehat, sab ko kaam. They might just be biting off more than they can chew given how well they did with the first three in their last government.