ECP suspends Ishaq Dar’s Senate membership

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) suspended the Senate membership of former finance minister and top Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ishaq Dar.
“[The ECP] has been pleased to suspend the notification of even number dated 9 March 2018, to the extent of Muhammad Ishaq Dar, whereby he was declared as returned candidate from the Senate… against seat reserved for technocrats… from Punjab province,” read a notification issued.
The Supreme Court on May 9 ordered the ECP that notification of Senator-elect Ishaq Dar as member of the upper house be suspended for his failure to appear before the court despite repeated summons.
A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had issued this order on petition of Nawazish Ali Pirzada, a Pakistan Peoples Party leader, who had challenged the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) verdict that allowed Dar to contest the March 3, 2018 Senate polls.
On February 17, an appellate election tribunal of the LHC granted Dar permission to contest Senate election, setting aside an order of the returning officer (RO) who had rejected his nomination papers.
The LHC observed that the petitioner had no locus standi to file this petition being not an objector to the nomination papers of Ishaq Dar before the RO.  Later on March 3, Dar won a Senate seat as a PML-N backed independent candidate.
Later approaching the SC, the petitioner contended that Dar was declared an absconder by an accountability court on Dec 11, 2017 and an absconder cannot contest polls, adding that the LHC tribunal illegally brushed aside his stance.
The petitioner claimed that the LHC misconceived and misinterpreted the provision of section113 of Election Act 2017. “The apex court has categorically declared that a fugitive from law loses his normal rights granted under the substantive as well as procedural laws,” petitioner added.
During the hearing of the case on March 7, the Supreme Court wondered how Ishaq Dar was elected in the Senate when he has been declared an absconder. On May 9 the apex court ordered suspension of his membership since he failed to appear before the court despite many notices.