A court hearing Arbab Ghulam Rahim’s petition against being unseated was put off till April 25 because of a shortage of time on Thursday.
Rahim, who is a former chief minister of Sindh, was voted out of the Sindh Assembly because he had failed to attend 40 consecutive sessions of the house of elected representatives. He has been living outside Pakistan since 2008.
His son Arbab Inayatullah filed the petition to challenge the Sindh Assembly’s decision. His lawyer Rasheed A Razvi and Sindh Advocate General Abul Fattah Malik waited for hours on Thursday for the hearing but an unending list of cases forced Justices Faisal Arab and Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui to defer the hearing for April 25.
Several judges had earlier declined to hear the case. A bench had to be specially constituted. On April 14, the court suspended the Election Commission’s announcement for the by-election on May 19. The court also suspended the notification issued by the speaker of the house, declaring Arbab’s seat vacant.
As Arbab Rahim has been living abroad, he has been granted leave from attending the Sindh Assembly sessions. However, the house decided recently to reject them.
The petitioner maintains that according to the rules, any request for leave was to be dealt with separately for each day and voted on in the assembly. The government kept the applications pending and then put them all before the house on a single day and, in violation of rules, rejected them by a majority vote.
Arbab Rahim’s lawyer argued in court that the government had asked for his support for its candidates in the Senate elections and had also demanded he withdraw his party’s candidate. The ruling party was also irked that Arbab Rahim had applied to become Opposition leader.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2012.