How will ROs scrutinise papers of candidates, LHC asks ECP

LAHORE–The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to explain what procedure the Returning Officers would adopt during scrutiny of contestants nomination papers in light of Article 62 and 63 of Constitution.
“It is the most important question that how the Returning Officers will scrutinise the nomination papers in view of the Article 62 and 63,” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah remarked and sought copy of orders issued by the ECP to Returning Officers in this regard. The court was hearing a Constitutional petition demanding strict implementation of Article 62 and 63, and free and fair elections.
In his arguments, the counsel said there was an ambiguity in the Peoples Representation Act 1976 under which a Parliamentarian is disqualified for the whole life. While, under Article 62 and 63 the ineligibility would be for only five years, the counsel pointed out.
The ECP had sent a draft for amendment in the Peoples Representation Act 1998 to the Parliament, but the same was not done deliberately, the counsel further pointed out. He contended the Returning Officers were in confusion on this ambiguity. At this, the court directed the counsels of ECP and Federal government to tell the court what steps had been taken to solve this ambiguity.
The counsel argued the ECP had directed the Federal government to cancel the appointment of Mahmood Ashraf Vathra, Deputy Governor of State Bank of Pakistan, but the directions had not been obeyed so far.  He alleged the SBP Deputy Governor was a representative of Federal government and would create hurdles in information required by the ECP about loan defaulters.
The counsel requested the court to issue a restraining order against the appointment.
The court turned down the request of issuing the stay order and adjourned further hearing for Wednesday (today) directing the respondent law officers to satisfy the court on the Constitutional points raised in the petition.

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