LAHORE/SARGODHA/QUETTA - Some more noted political players were finally kicked out of the May 11 election match on Wednesday after they failed to establish their electoral fitness.
Among those who lost appeals against rejection of their nomination papers by the returning officers and were declared disqualified by the election tribunals in different cities were PML-Q leader Ch Wajahat Hussain, ex-PPP MPA from Sargodha, Aslam Midhyana, and five ex-provincial ministers from Balochistan.
Two former prime ministers, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Yousaf Raza Gilani, and former President General (r) Pervaiz Musharraf have already been disqualified from contesting elections.
An election tribunal rejected the appeal filed by Chaudhry Wahajat, the younger brother of PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, for contesting elections from NA-104 constituency in Jallalpur Jattan-Karianwala. His opponent PML-N leader Ghazanfar Gul had raised objection that Wahajat had not declared his assets correctly in the nomination papers.
Lahore High Court Election Tribunal upheld the returning officer’s decision of rejecting nomination of PPP’s Aslam Madhyana and his covering candidate Nadeem Sarwar Madhyana over their implication in criminal cases.
Aslam and Nadeem had sought to contest for Punjab Assembly seat from PP-31 in Sargodha. But the tribunal comprising Justice Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmed and Justice Khalid Mehmood Khan upheld decision of returning officer Nazir Ahmed Chaudhry’s rejection of their candidacy. Aslam Madhyana, last year, was accused of beating an elderly schoolteacher and breaking his legs.
The tribunal reserved verdicts on at seven appeals of the candidates, including Nawabzada Ghazanfar Gull, against rejection of their nomination papers. A private TV channel reported that the election tribunal cleared former federal education minister Sheikh Waqas Akram, whose nomination was rejected on charges of holding fake degree.
The tribunal also dismissed all petitions filed against the nomination of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, declaring him eligible to contest the elections. The appellants had alleged Imran of concealing assets and being ineligible under articles 62 and 63 of the constitution. A resident of Rawalpindi had also raised objection to Imran’s nomination for NA-56 alleging that in his memoir, “Me and My Pakistan,” the PTI chief had confessed to consuming liquor.
After hearing arguments, the tribunal dismissed the appeals by observing the appellants had failed to substantiate the allegations. Imran is contesting from four constituencies viz. NA-1 (Peshawar-II), NA-56 (Rawalpindi-VII), NA-71 (Mianwali-I) and NA-126 (Lahore-IX). On the other hand, Awami Muslim League leader Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has withdrawn his nomination papers in support of Imran Khan for the NA-56 seat.
The election tribunal in Quetta, comprising Justice Naheem Akhtar Afghan, Justice Noor Muhammad Muskanzai and Justice Hashim Kakar, announced on Wednesday decisions on 52 appeals lodged against various candidates.
The tribunal declared disqualified former senator Mohabat Khan Marri, former Speaker Zahoor Ahmed Khosa, Abdul Ghafoor Lehri, ex ministers Ali Madad Jattak, Syed Ahsan Shah, Ameen Umrani, Sarwar Musakhel of JUI, Muhammad Khan Thor Uthamankhel and Shoaib Nosherwani of PML-Q, and his father kareem Nosherwani.
Similarly, Senator Hafiz Ahmadullah, Humayun Aziz Kurd, Rozud Din Kakar, Agha Muhammad, Molvi Muhammad Hanif were declared disqualified for national assembly seats for contesting elections.
However, National Party President Abdul Malik Baloch, former BNP-M Senator Sana Baloch, former Balochistan Assembly Speaker and JUI candidate Matiullah Agha, Dr Yaseen Baloch, Majeed Khan Achakzai and Jam Akbar were declared qualified. On the special seats, Basant Lal of PML-Q, Sobia Kiran Kibzai and Saba Parveen were declared qualified.
In Burewala, the LHC Bahawalpur Bench Election Tribunal cleared PTI candidate Rana Muhammad Muzaffar Khan for PP-233 seat. Earlier, his nomination papers were rejected by the Burewala Returning Officer, declaring him defaulter of the TMA. The election tribunal also disposed of a fake degree allegation against PML-N candidate Ch Irshad Ahmad Arain from the same constituency.
Earlier on Monday, an election tribunal rejected an appeal of former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, barring him from contesting the upcoming polls from NA-51 Gujar Khan. The tribunal comprising Lahore High Court (LHC) judges Justice Abdur Rauf and Justice Mamoon ur Rasheed declared the former premier ineligible to contest elections over accusations of misappropriating development funds and indulging in nepotism. Another former prime minister of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Yousuf Raza Gilani, had already been declared unqualified for elections.
Over a week ago, returning officers reviewing Musharraf’s nomination papers disqualified him from running in three districts because he suspended the constitution while in power. But he was allowed by a returning officer to contest from remote northern district of Chitral, which too was challenged in the election tribunal and the tribunal disqualified him for there too.