Pak tribunal dismisses Rashid’s plea over rejection of nomination papers

The election appellate tribunal court of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) former Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid against the rejection of his nomination papers for Senate elections by the Returning Officer.

Last week, Rashid challenged the impugned order at the Punjab Election Appellate Tribunal of the LHC, saying that he was ready to address the objections raised by the returning officer, the Express Tribune reported.

One of the objections pertained to a purported demand raised by Comptroller Punjab House, Islamabad through a notice on January 17, 2019, for an amount of Rs 6.9 million and another notice for an amount of Rs 2.65 million, making a total of over Rs 9.5 million.

The Punjab government had released a list of people, including Rashid, who had not cleared their bills for staying and having meals at the Punjab House.

During the hearing, Rashid’s counsels cited several judgments in support of his client, establishing that the RO’s order was against the norms of the law.

The counsel added that not clearing the dues had not been the intention of their client, adding their client wanted to deposit the money but neither any officer was ready to hear him nor any account details were provided for the purpose.

The respondent side strongly opposed the stance, imploring that the RO, accepting the stance of Pervaiz Rashid, had given him 24 hours to submit the dues, but he failed to do so.

On the occasion, Comptroller Punjab House informed the court that his office was operational and the staff was also present there but no one contacted them for getting the dues deposited.

Justice Sahid Waheed asked the comptroller where the audit was carried out, at which he replied that it was carried out at Punjab House, Islamabad.

The comptroller further said that the notices were received at Rashid’s residence in Defense Housing Authority.

The counsels implored the court that their client had not received any notice from the Punjab House relating to his outstanding dues and their client had also submitted an application before the Returning Officer for clearing all dues but his application was rejected.

During the hearing, Advocate General Punjab argued that the petitioner submitted his declaration on oath but astonishingly enough, he did not mention the dues anywhere in his nomination papers.

He added that the said room was allotted to Rashid and he himself had to clear his dues.

The respondent’s counsel further said that the Supreme Court had ordered recovery from Rashid in the Ataul Haq Qasmi case.

At this, the judge asked whether the counsel wanted to raise another objection.

Shehzad Shaukat argued, “I’m raising objection on the nomination papers of Pervaiz Rashid in light of the verdict of the top court,” saying the top court had maintained that the petitioner appointed Qasmi illegally.

The petitioner’s counsels responded, saying that an appeal is still pending with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on the case.

Petitioner’s counsels argued that the dues could be deposited before the election adding several verdicts of Supreme Court of Pakistan are available.

Justice Waheed noted, “you mentioned the bank account on page 40 of your appeal. And you did not deny anywhere in your appeal that you had not used the room of the Punjab House.”

Pervaiz Rashid, he added, should have cleared the dues at the time when he left the room.

At this, the counsel maintained that Punjab House could get the dues cleared by issuing notices to the Senate chairman.

He prayed to the court to issue directions for depositing of the dues and direct the RO to accept the nomination papers of the petitioner and include his name in the final list of the candidates.

Soon after the appeal’s dismissal, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz reacted to the development, saying, “Pervaiz Rashid is the name of a narrative, an ideology, and democracy. He is and will continue to be Nawaz Sharif’s reliable acquaintance and an asset of the party and the national politics.”