SC allows Parvez Elahi, Sanam Javed and other PTI candidates to contest polls

SC allows Parvez Elahi, Sanam Javed and other PTI candidates to contest polls

Islamabad (Web Desk): The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday permitted five Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders including party’s central president and former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi to contest the upcoming general elections.

The top court also permitted Sanam Javed Khan to contest polls from NA-119, NA-120, and PP-125 (Lahore) while Shaukat Basra was cleared to fight elections from NA-163 (Bahawalnagar).

Moreover, Tahir Sadiq and Omer Aslam Awan were allowed by the apex court to contest elections from NA- 49 (Attock) and NA-87 (Khushab) constituencies, respectively.

The PTI leaders had moved SC against the rejection of his nomination papers for the general elections scheduled to be held on February 8.

A three-member bench led by Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and comprising Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition.

Advocate Faisal Siddiqui appeared on behalf of Parvez Elahi in the case.

In his arguments, Siddiqui highlighted anomalies in the objections raised by the rival candidates and the ECP.

He implored the court to grant permission to his client to contest the upcoming elections in Gujarat.

Justice Minallah remarked that voters should not be deprived of their right to vote.

He said a returning officer is supposed to facilitate and not obstruct the election process.

“It is strange that all this is happening to only one political party,” Justice Minallah remarked.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said elections call for the inclusion of people and not exclusion.

He remarked that  Article 17 says that no one can be barred from contesting an election without valid reasons.

The SC judge said the Constitution allows enfranchisement and not disenfranchising the voters via elections.

After hearing the arguments, the top court declared the RO’s decision to reject Elahi’s nomination papers from PP-32 invalid and allowed him to contest polls from the Gujarat provincial assembly seat.

The apex court also instructed the inclusion of Parvez Elahi's name and electoral symbol on the ballot paper for PP-32, Gujarat, while the former Punjab CM withdrew appeals against the rejection of nomination papers from other constituencies including two NA seats.

The former Punjab CM, currently detained at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, submitted his nomination papers in three National Assembly—NA-59, NA-64, and NA-69—and four Punjab Assembly—PP-23, PP-34, PP-32, and PP-42—constituencies. However, various returning officers (ROs) rejected his papers.

He challenged the decision of the ROs at an election tribunal, which upheld the ROs’ verdict.

The PTI leader then moved the Lahore High Court (LHC), which on January 13 upheld the tribunal's order.

The former Punjab chief minister later challenged the LHC verdict in the SC, naming the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the election tribunal as respondents.