SHC seeks arguments on Miftah Ismail’s eligibility

Extends stay against appointment of new HEC chairperson until Apr 8


Our Correspondent April 02, 2021
Dr Miftah Ismail. PHOTO: APP

KARACHI:

An election tribunal sought on Thursday arguments from the counsel of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N's) Miftah Ismail in a plea challenging the acceptance of PML-N candidates' nomination papers for NA-249 by-poll.

A single bench, comprising Justice Muhammad Faisal Kamal Alam, was hearing the plea filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf member Hasnain Ali Chauhan.

At the hearing, the counsel for Ismail submitted a power of attorney on behalf of his client and Chauhan presented his arguments.

Read: Twitter lauds Miftah Ismail over response to sexist question

Chauhan contended that Ismail had not declared his assets, including luxury vehicles in his ownership, in the nomination papers and termed the approval of his nomination papers "illegal". He maintained that the PML-N candidate did not qualify to contest the by-election under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution and hence, should be declared ineligible to contest for the NA-249 seat.

"It is argued that neither Ismail, nor any of his family members own any luxury vehicles and yet, the PML-N leader is seen travelling in five different Prados," said Chauhan.

He further pointed out that the National Accountability Bureau had filed a reference against Ismail and its proceedings were under way in the court.

At this information, the tribunal enquired, "Has Ismail been served any penalty?"

The tribunal stated that Ismail could not be declared ineligible to contest the by-poll on the basis of a mere reference.

Issuing a notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan, the tribunal sought arguments from the counsel for Ismail and adjourned the hearing until today (Friday).

Stay extended

Separately, the court extended the say order against the appointment of a new Higher Education Commission (HEC) chairperson until April 8.

The Centre, a party in the plea challenging the dismissal of the last HEC chairperson, Dr Tariq Banuri, sought more time from the court to submit its reply, following which the court extended the stay.

According to the plea, Dr Banuri was appointed as the HEC head in May 2018, for a period of four years. However, the government, under an amended ordinance, reduced his term to two years, even when the ordinance does not apply to him, the plea states, terming Dr Banuri's dismissal "illegal".

Timescale promotions

At another hearing, a bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito sought arguments from the parties in a plea pertaining to over 12,000 professors and lecturers not being promoted on the basis of timescale.

During the hearing, the counsel for the petitioners informed the court that while some of the teachers had been promoted, the issue of timescale promotions remained unresolved.

"The resolution of the problem is long overdue," he said, at which the court sought arguments from the respondents and adjourned the hearing.

Also read: Power tariff increase owed to highest ever circular debt: Miftah Ismail

Sentence upheld

Meanwhile, a two-member bench comprising Justice KK Agha and Justice Abdul Mobeen Lakho rejected a plea challenging the sentence meted out two persons for possessing explosives and illegal weapons.

An anti-terrorism court had sentenced the convicts, Najeebullah and Muheet Khan, to six years of imprisonment.

The convicts were arrested in the limits of Mobina Town Police Station in 2020 a fine of Rs5,000 was imposed on them after explosives and illegal weapons were found in their possession.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2021.

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