RAWALPINDI: The appellate election tribunal disqualified former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for “concealing facts and withholding information from voters” in his nomination forms submitted for NA-57 Murree — his home constituency.
In its written verdict, the tribunal said that Abbasi does not meet the requirements under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The verdict read that the former premier was found “guilty of concealment of facts and withholding of the complete information from his voters.”
It said that Abbasi “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 the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.”
The verdict was announced by head of the tribunal Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi.
Abbasi vows to challenge verdict
The former premier announced to challenge the verdict of the appellate tribunal.
Speaking on media, he stressed that he would use his right to appeal and contest the election from the same constituency.
He questioned under which law the verdict had been announced.
“Election commission and Supreme Judicial Council should take notice of making the election controversial,” Abbasi said during the show.
Earlier in the evening, he said that the appellate court did not have the authority to disqualify a person for life.
“I was disqualified on the issue of market value of assets,” the former premier said.
Abbasi explained that his father had purchased their house in 1974 and he had mentioned the same price in his nomination forms on which the property was purchased.
‘Verdict pertains to one constituency’
Commenting on the development, Barrister Farogh Naseem said the verdict pertained to only one constituency.
Naseem maintained that it would not have an impact on other constituencies.
The tribunal had on Monday reserved the verdict on an appeal against the acceptance of Abbasi’s nomination papers by the returning officer (RO) and announced it today.
Announcing the decision today, the tribunal head, Lahore High Court’s Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi, accepted all the objections of the petitioner.
Petitioner Masood Ahmed Abbasi had challenged Khaqan Abbasi’s candidature, accusing him of extorting money from the national exchequer. The petitioner had alleged that the candidate, during his tenure as the prime minister, had obtained Rs1 billion from the national kitty and given the amount to his son to perform Umrah.
Moreover, Mehmood had stated that the former premier had supported a controversial interview that Nawaz Sharif had given, accusing him of purposefully damaging national security.
Among other accusations, the petitioner had alleged that Abbasi did not provide correct details of his assets. He further said that the former prime minister had not given any statement in support of Aafia Siddiqui — a Pakistani scientist imprisoned in the US on terrorism charges.
Ex-premier Abbasi’s counsel informed the tribunal that his client had declared all of his assets in the documents submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan. “Declared assets in both of my client’s nomination papers are the same,” he said, adding that Abbasi had listed his shares in an airline in both documents.
The tribunal then reserved its verdict.
Suspension of returning officer
The appellate tribunal had earlier also suspended the returning officer for not correctly vetting Abbasi’s nomination papers.
The election tribunals had until today to decide on the appeals after which the revised list of the candidates will be shared on June 28.
The last date for withdrawal of candidature is June 29 whereas the date for allocation of electoral symbols and publication of the final list of contesting candidates is June 30.
Polling for General Election 2018 will be held on July 25.