SC dismisses plea against elections

ISLAMABAD  -  The Supreme Court of Pakistan Wednesday disposed of Ali Khan’s petition seeking to de­clare the general elec­tions 2024 null and void, and imposed a fine of Rs0.5 million on the petitioner for failing to appear before the court.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and com­prising Justice Muham­mad Ali Mazhar and Justice Mussarat Hilali conducted hearing of the petition of Ali Khan.

The bench directed him to pay the amount equally to the Pakistan Bar Council and to the Supreme Court Bar As­sociation within 30 days, failing which they be recovered from the petitioner as arrears of land revenue. “We trust that the federal govern­ment will be ensuring that the petitioner does not use the rank of a Brigadier or ex or former Brigadier with his name,” the order further said.

Additional Attorney-General for Pakistan, Amir Rehman in­formed that the representative of the Ministry of Defence went to deliver the notice at the ad­dress of the petitioner on 20 February 2024, and according to the report of the Ministry of Defence, the notice was re­ceived by Amama Sohail, who stated that she was a family member of the petitioner; the receipt of notice by Amama So­hail is submitted in original.

Notices were also sent through the District and Session Judge, Islamabad, whose report states that the petitioner was not avail­able at the given address. The re­port of the SHO of the area states that no one answered the out­er door of the petitioner’s res­idence, therefore, notice was pasted on it; his report along with the photographs of the pasted notice is received. How­ever, the petitioner is not in at­tendance nor is represented.

The Fixation Branch of this court informed that they had re­ceived an e-mail dated 19 Febru­ary 2024, wherein the petition­er stated that ‘I am EX-Brigadier Ali Khan’ and that he had sought withdrawal of this petition by filing withdrawal application.

The e-mail confirms that ‘I don’t want to pursue the said petition anymore’. The e-mail concludes by stating that ‘I deeply regret any inconve­nience I might have caused to the Supreme Court and seek their pardon for my inabili­ty to appear in person as I am currently out of the country. I shall be extremely grateful to the Court for their magnanim­ity and for their kindness.’

Copies of the petitioner’s pass­port with exit from Pakistan stamp of FIA Immigration dat­ed 17 February 2024, board­ing pass and e-ticket have also been provided by the petition­er. The e-ticket shows that he paid Rs.162,756 on 13 Febru­ary 2024 for his travel from Is­lamabad to Doha, Qatar, and for a connecting flight to Bahrain.

The AAG stated that the peti­tioner cannot refer to himself as an Ex-Brigadier because he was court martialed by the Pakistan Army for committing sedition, mutiny and insubordination in the year 2012. 

He was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment and was released after serv­ing out four years of his sen­tence as he was granted remis­sions. He further stated that the petitioner was stripped of his rank, which he can no lon­ger use and the normal bene­fits which would accrue to a retired officer were not given to him.

The President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Muham­mad Shahzad Shaukat, is pres­ent in Court and was asked to assist the Court. He submitted that the given facts and circum­stances of the case constitutes abuse of the process of the Court and it should be ensured that this should not take place in future and therefore this pe­tition should be dismissed with exemplary costs of Rs1 mil­lion. The petitioner must have used his rank to attract public­ity and to ensure that the con­tents of his petition are wide­ly broadcast in the media and published in newspapers. And after having achieved such pur­pose, the petitioner immediate­ly bought a ticket (on 13 Febru­ary 2024) to catch a flight out of the country.

He added that the usual prac­tice is to buy a return ticket, but the petitioner bought a one-way ticket. He also did not disclose when he will return to Pakistan. It is also not disclosed why, just one day after filing the petition, he sought its withdrawal.

This petition has also con­sumed valuable court time, which is to be spent on deciding the cases of genuine litigants; not use the media for ulteri­or and nefarious purposes. The petitioner got prominent cover­age and then the petition was abandoned and the petition­er left the country. Responsible media will undoubtedly want to disclose this order and the peti­tioner’s conduct to redress the damage done.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt