KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has thrown out a petition for Arbab Ghulam Rahim, who stands to lose his seat in the Sindh Assembly for being absent since 2008.
The petition was filed by his party’s Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi but the court said that he had no locus standi as he was not the aggrieved party. Justice Maqbool Baqar and Nadeem Akhtar said, however, that a new petition could be filed if he obtained the power to represent the former chief minister.
Rahim has been constantly applying for leave from abroad, citing illness among other reasons. However, the Sindh Assembly rules state that if an MPA is absent for a certain number of sessions, they stand to lose their seat.
The Sindh Assembly has for four years been accepting Arbab Ghulam Rahim’s request for leave of absence, but as the Senate elections approached, they decided to use it as leverage against him, maintained the petitioner Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi.
Qureshi is a former senator and the general secretary of Arbab’s Pakistan Muslim League (Likeminded) party. He maintained that Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and other senior leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party approached Arbab Ghulam Rahim to ask him to withdraw his (Qureshi’s) name as a candidate for the Senate elections. But when Rahim refused, they threatened him and decided not to grant him leave any more.
As Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim was attacked at the Sindh Assembly, he has said that he fears for his life in Pakistan. The petitioner, Qureshi, referred to a petition filed by a party worker and decided by a Hyderabad court which ordered the police to provide Rahim protection if he returns.
The court also barred the police and other authorities from registering any FIR against Rahim, the petitioner said maintaining that since the general elections of 2008 and since the day newly elected members took oath, Rahim was subjected to humiliation, threats and intimidation. It was due to these threats, the petitioner said, that Rahim was unable to return to Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ