LAHORE: An election tribunal of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has allowed Amir Yar Waran of the PPP to run for elections at NA184, Bahawalpur.
The decision comes a month after he resigned from the same seat in the midst of a fake degree case in the Supreme Court (SC).
The three-member tribunal was hearing an appeal from Muhammad Jamil, an independent candidate in the same constituency, challenging the returning officer’s decision to accept Waran’s nomination papers. During Tuesday’s proceedings, Jamil’s lawyer Advocate Aftab Bajwa said Waran did not meet the requirement laid down in Article 62(f) of the Constitution that an MNA must be “sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, and honest and ameen”.
Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, who headed the bench, took objection to this and repeatedly asked Bajwa to interpret Article 62(f) in light of the recent 18th Amendment. After the lawyer failed to give a satisfactory answer, Justice Malik said that the amended Article 62(f) meant one couldn’t say a person was not moral or not righteous unless a court of law declared him so. “Saying someone is not righteous and not ameen is a big accusation. No one will be safe if it is applied to all,” he said.
Waran was present in the room and was summoned to the rostrum at one point, but sent back to his chair without being asked any questions.
The petitioner submitted that Waran’s decision to resign on July 1 while proceedings were pending against him before the SC was tantamount to a confession that his education degrees were bogus. He said Waran’s BCom degree of 1997 from Shah Abdul Bhattai University Khairpur, Sindh, had been declared fake by the university, following which the LHC’s Bahawalpur bench had declared him ineligible for election. He said the respondent was later found guilty of getting someone else to take BA exams at Islamia University Bahawalpur on his behalf. He said Waran then registered at Balochistan University and sat for the BA exams in 2004, but failed. Balochistan University also initiated proceedings against Waran and found him guilty of concealing facts and holding a bogus degree, he said.
Waran’s lawyer said that no impersonation case had been registered against his client as he had not even taken the BA exams that year. He had also filed a civil suit against Islamia University for ‘illegally’ declaring his degree bogus. He said Waran’s degree was valid and he had the right to contest the election. He said the charges against him were not as serious as those against PPP MNA Jamshed Dasti, but the latter had been allowed to contest elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2010.
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