Election tribunals clear key PTI candidates

Afzal Marwat, Shandana Gulzar, Shehryar Afridi win appeals

Our Correspondent January 10, 2024
A Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporter waves the party flag at a rally. PHOTO: FILE


An appellate tribunal, operating under the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), granted approval on Tuesday for the nomination papers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice President Sher Afzal Marwat for NA-32 Peshawar.

The tribunal, tasked with reviewing Marwat’s appeal against the rejection of his nomination papers by the returning officer, sided with PTI’s arguments, overturning the initial decision.

Addressing the media, Marwat underscored the difference in ticket distribution strategies between Khyber-Paktunkhwa and Punjab within PTI. He expressed his intention to meet with party founder Imran Khan to discuss the ticket allocation issue in K-P.

Touching upon recent controversy, Marwat clarified that there is no dispute with Atif Khan. While he did not endorse the sharing of the audio on a group, he declined to offer apologies, stating that Atif had already called and apologized to him.

Additionally, Marwat highlighted his concerns with the central organization of the party, acknowledging potential disagreement over the language he used. He noted opposition from Sher Ali Arbab but emphasized his focus on taking action and working for the party.

Earlier, Marwat had faced arrest under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) on the premises of the Lahore High Court but was subsequently released on December 18, following arguments asserting the illegality of his detention.

In a noteworthy development, Election Tribunals accepted the applications of various PTI candidates, including Shandana Gulzar and Shehryar Afridi, allowing them to participate in the upcoming general elections. These candidates had contested the rejection of their nomination papers by returning officers.

Read Tribunals reject Fawad, Murad's nomination papers appeal

Justice Shakil Ahmad, overseeing Shandana Gulzar’s appeal, acknowledged that all requirements had been fulfilled and approved her application for NA-31. In a similar vein, another Election Tribunal led by Justice Attiq Shah accepted the appeal of Shaheryar Afridi, allowing him to contest polls despite a late-filed case by the Anti-Corruption Department.

The broader context includes the recent acceptance of appeals by former minister and PTI candidates Atif Khan and Shahram Khan Tarakai, further solidifying the party’s lineup for the upcoming elections. The tribunals emphasized that voters are the ultimate judges, echoing the sentiment that the electorate will decide based on their preferences.

In the aftermath of these legal victories, PTI’s prospects for the upcoming general elections in the region are bolstered. With key figures like Marwat securing approval for their candidacy, the party aims to navigate the intricate landscape of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa politics.

As the election season unfolds, the party’s focus on addressing internal discrepancies and presenting a united front becomes paramount. The narrative surrounding Marwat’s arrest and subsequent release adds a layer of complexity to the political dynamics in the region.

The acceptance of appeals by candidates such as Shandana Gulzar and Shehryar Afridi further underscores the resilience of PTI in navigating legal challenges. These developments showcase the intricate nature of election processes, where legal battles play a crucial role in shaping the final lineup of candidates.

As the political landscape continues to evolve in the lead-up to the general elections, the role of Election Tribunals in adjudicating disputes and ensuring a fair electoral process remains a focal point.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2024.


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