MULTAN/ RAWALPINDI/ PESHAWAR/ KARACHI:
Ayaz Amir and Faisal Saleh Hayat are back in the running. Both politicians, who recently had their nomination papers rejected by returning officers, won appeals on Wednesday allowing them to contest the upcoming elections.
Ayaz Amir, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader and prominent columnist, was rejected over the contents of his articles, while former minister Faisal Saleh Hayat was rejected over allegations of water theft.
A returning officer last week turned away Amir for writing against the ‘ideology of Pakistan’ and for using ‘inappropriate’ words for the Azaan.
However, the PML-N leader appealed to the Rawalpindi division election tribunal against the decision. His counsel, Salman Akram Raja, read out excerpts from the articles before the tribunal and argued that the RO was unable to understand their meaning.
Talking to reporters after the hearing, Amir said it was the first time in the country’s history that “views in a column” were made the basis of such objections and welcomed the appeal decision as a victory for freedom of expression.
He added that the next parliament should “review” articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. “The law needs to be reviewed. It should be more clearly explained. It should not be left to the people to determine the criteria for being a Muslim,” Amir said. “Why are we consumed in useless debates and discussions? We should work for one country and be unified in thinking about one welfare state.”
The two-member election tribunal, comprising Justice Asad Rauf Sheikh and Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh, also allowed 14 other candidates to contest the elections on Wednesday – the last day of filing appeals.
Prominent among these are Sheikh Rashid of the Awami Muslim League, Nasrullah Jaral of the All Pakistan Muslim League, Raja Shaukat Aziz Bhatti, Waqas Mehmood Khan and Beenish Sikandar of the Awami National Party.
Similarly, the Multan bench of the Lahore High Court rejected objections raised against Faisal Saleh Hayat who is contesting from NA-87.
The PML-Q candidate’s nomination papers were rejected by a returning officer in Jhang, after allegations of water theft were leveled against him.
The election tribunal in Multan, however, declared Hayat eligible.
Abid Imam, son of PPP politician Abida Hussain and Fakhar Imam, was also granted permission to contest the elections after he presented proof that he had cleared his outstanding dues.
Musharraf files appeal
Former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, who intended to contest the elections from Karachi’s NA-250 seat under the banner of his All Pakistan Muslim League, also filed an appeal on Wednesday against the rejection of his nomination papers.
Musharraf’s papers were rejected by an RO over various allegations leveled against him by Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed.
They stated that Musharraf had twice suspending the Constitution, sacked and detained judges and was involved in the Lal Masjid operation, the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti.
Musharraf, who filed the appeal through his attorney Col (retd) Ghulam Mohiuddin, submitted that the RO had made an error while deciding his case. “No case is pending against him with regard to the subversion of the Constitution and holding the Constitution in abeyance in November 2007,” Mohiuddin claimed.
He further pointed out that Musharraf’s nomination papers were accepted from NA-32 Chitral.
Mohiuddin also said that several convicted persons, including former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Mohajir Qaumi Movement Chairman Afaq Ahmed, have been allowed to contest the election.
The tribunal is scheduled to hear the plea today (Thursday).
On the other hand, a local voter from Chitral challenged Musharraf’s accepted nomination papers from NA-32 in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday.
The application stated that Musharraf was ineligible to contest the polls under Articles 5, 6, 62 and 63 of the Constitution.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2013.
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Let see whether he able to make his way to the National Assembly where he had already a very sound sleep in the cozy couch during last five years.