ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented decision, an election tribunal in Rawalpindi has disqualified former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from contesting elections.

Earlier in the day, the appellant tribunal had sustained an appeal against Abbasi’s candidature in NA-57 (Murree).

The single-judge bench in its written order noted that the former premier was “guilty of concealment of facts and withholding of the complete information from his voters.” Declaring him to not be ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’, the tribunal stated that Abbasi was “not a qualified person to be elected or chosen as a member of majlis-e-shoora (parliament) within the meaning of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of Pakistan.”
“Responding to the submissions of learned counsel for respondent that unless there is a declaration of any court of law under which a person can be declared as not qualified or not honest and Ameen, I declare that this tribunal constituted under the statutory provisions of a federal statue is a court of law and after declaring that Abbasi being guilty of concealment of facts and withholding of the complete information from his voters is not an honest and ameen person and after such declaration, declare him as not a qualified person to be elected or chosen as a member of majlis-e-shoora (parliament) within the meaning of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of Pakistan,” Justice Ibadur Rehman said in his judgement.

The tribunal’s decision can be challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC) and Supreme Court. Speaking to The Express Tribune, legal experts stressed that the appellant tribunal can only accept and reject nominations. They claimed that the tribunal has exceeded its jurisdiction with the judgment.

The appellant tribunal chaired by Justice Lodhi of the Lahore High Court (LHC) also rejected nomination papers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Azhar Kiyani, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Fawad Chaudhry for NA-67 (Jhelum-II) and Sardar Ghulam Abbas for NA-64 (Chakwal-I).

Imran Khan cleared to contest polls NA-53

The decision came on appeals filed by the candidates’ opponents, challenging returning officers’ (ROs) decision to accept the nomination papers.

PML-N heavyweights including former premier Abbasi, former foreign minister Khawaja Asif and Sardar Mehtab Abbasi were cleared for the upcoming general elections on Tuesday.

An election tribunal allowed Abbasi and senior leader Sardar Mehtab Abbasi to contest from the constituency of NA-53 Islamabad.

On Monday, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani of Islamabad’s appellate tribunal adjourned the hearing pertaining to the RO’s rejection of Abbasi and Sardar Mehtab’s candidature in NA-53.

During the hearing, Justice Kiyani remarked that a huge number of nomination papers were rejected due to incomplete bank accounts details and inquired whether the candidates were unable to comprehend the questions.

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