ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday accepted a petition filed by a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member of the Sindh Assembly seeking the disqualification of former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari for not declaring in his nomination papers an apartment that he allegedly owns in the United States.
The petition, which was filed by PTI MPA Khurram Sherzaman, was reviewed and accepted for initial hearing by a five-member bench of the ECP.
Reports have emerged that the petitioner will be called to present his plea before the ECP in the first hearing, which is expected next week.
The reference requested the election watchdog to disqualify the former head of state as a member of the National Assembly for concealing an apartment he allegedly owns in Belaire Condominiums located at 524 East 72nd Street, New York, New York, USA, in his nomination form for the 2018 general elections.
Zardari was elected to the National Assembly from NA-213, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sindh, in the 2018 general elections.
Speaking to reporters after submitting his application, Zaman claimed that Zardari had concealed his assets in his nomination papers and explained he filed a reference against the PPP leader under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution.
“Because of this act of his, Mr Asif Ali Zardari under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Rules of the Election Commission of Pakistan, … as per past precedent, should be disqualified from holding public office under Article 62 (1)(f), as in my opinion he ceases to be truthful and sagacious,” says the application submitted by Zaman.
In his letter, Zaman said he was attaching documents of the property in question along with Zardari’s Form B, “which shows that he did not declare this property”.
A document submitted with the application shows Zardari as having an address at 524 East 72nd Street, New York, New York. A second document purports to show that one Ms Mehreen Shah was granted the power of attorney for the condo unit by Zardari. The veracity of the documents could not be independently confirmed.
“This serious violation of the law needs to be examined by you since Mr Zardari is a former president of Pakistan and co-chairs one of the major political parties of this country,” the application read.
The PTI lawmaker urged the ECP to investigate the matter, “and if proven true and accurate”, disqualify and de-seat Zardari as an MNA under Article 62 (1)(f).