The election of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate, Ghulam Qadir Chandio, on the provincial assembly seat from its stronghold Nawabshah (PS-27) was declared wholly void on the basis of his fake degree.
Former Sindh High Court judge Zafar Ahmed Khan Sherwani, who headed the election tribunal, also ordered the office to communicate this order to the Election Commission of Pakistan to issue the election nullification notification.
Monday's ruling came on an election petition filed by the Sindh United Party's Syed Zainul Abdin, who had lost the May 11 general elections to Chandio. The ECP had declared Chandio as a successful candidate after obtaining 41,458 votes against the petitioner, who had secured only 32,120 votes.
Zainul Abdin had, however, challenged Chandio's educational qualifications. He claimed that the respondent claimed to be in possession of a Master's degree in the nomination form he filed before the returning officer, within the contemplation of Article 62 of the Constitution read with Section 99 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1976.
The petitioner claimed that the respondent was not sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and Ameen. On the day of the election, Chandio's men took control of these polling stations and committed illegal and corrupt practices, he claimed.
A report submitted by the National Database and Registration Authority confirmed that out of 9,545 used counterfoils, 2,122 were either having invalid ID number or no number at all. A total of 107 counterfoils bore an ID number that was repeated on more than one counterfoil with the same thumb impressions showing multiple voting by a single voter. A total of 108 counterfoils had no thumb impressions.
Thumb impressions on only 3,006 counterfoils out of the total 9,545 were authentic, wherein 23 counterfoils failed authentication.
"The petition is, therefore, allowed on the above ground with costs, consequently the election of the returned candidate is declared as a whole to be void under Section 70(a) of the Act," the tribunal stated, announcing its verdict, which was reserved earlier after hearing arguments from both sides. It also directed the office to inform the ECP about this judgment.
Last month, the election of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate Irfanullah Khan Marwat, on the provincial constituency (PS-114) from Karachi, was also declared void as the polls were marred with irregularities.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2014.
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