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ECP tribunal dismisses PTI candidates’ appeal

LAHORE:

The Election Appellate Tribunal on Friday dismissed appeals filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and Mussarat Jamshed Cheema against the rejection of their nomination papers by the returning officer (RO).
The nomination papers of Jamshed and his covering candidate to contest NA-133 by-polls were rejected by the RO because their proposer belonged to NA-130 instead of NA-133. As per the election laws, the proposer must be a resident of the same constituency as the candidates.
Mobinuddin, the counsel representing the Cheemas, said the proposer was a resident of NA-133 for long and the voter certificate also showed the same address. He added the proposer’s name appeared in the NA-130 voting list due to a clerical error.
According to the counsel, the documents shared with the ECP only mentioned the addresses of the proposers, not the constituency. The lawyer said the proposer had been living and voting in NA-133 for a long time. He attributed the change in address to a technical error.
The ECP counsel said that the proposer didn’t live in the same constituency that was why their nomination papers were rejected. The respondent’s counsel contended that the tribunal could not re-interpret the already settled law.
Read Looming trouble: NA-133 by-election a test of the PTI’s plummeting popularity
Plea against RO
In their petition, the Cheemas had argued that their proposer, Bilal Hussain, was a resident of the Liaquatabad area of Kot Lakhpat that is a part of the NA-133 constituency. He said the address of the proposer was also mentioned in the voter certificate and the ECP voter verification number.
The plea said the name appeared in the voters list of the NA-133 because of some clerical error, adding that it was not a case of defect in the nomination paper but a defect in the record of the ECP due to a misplaced census circle.
The plea read, “During the scrutiny proceedings, the appellant’s counsels not only fully responded to the objection by explaining the full factual and legal position and submitted substantial supportive documentary evidence as well as by relying upon the relevant case law, to justify that not only the nomination paper was valid but in the peculiar circumstances of the case, substitution of proposer would also be permissible.”
“Moreover, precedents from superior courts were also produced before the RO, whereby in similar circumstances, the candidates were allowed to contest the elections, to prevent disenfranchisement due to non-mentioning of even candidate’s name in the electoral roll due to mistake of the ECP,” the petition added.

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