ISLAMABAD-Islamabad High Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict in the petitions challenging eligibility of 3 Members of National Assembly of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Maleeka Ali Bokhari, Tashfeen Safdar and Kanwal Shauzab. A single bench of the IHC comprising acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the 3 identical petitions filed by the petitioners including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Shaishta Pervaiz, Tahira Bukhari, Abdullah Khan and Chaudhary Mehmood Ali Hashim and reserved the decision after hearing arguments of both the sides.

The petitioners prayed to the court that the 3 MNAs did not meet the criteria to hold membership of the Parliament under Article 62, 63 of the Constitution as they hid information in their nomination papers.

They claimed in their pleas that MNA Maleeka Bokhari was not eligible to participate in general election as she was holding dual nationality at time of submission of her nomination papers. The petition stated that she submitted her nomination papers on June 10, 2018 and left the British nationality on June 11. The petitioner also alleged MNA Tashfeen Safdar for hiding information related to her dual nationality in her nomination papers.

They claimed that the MNA had left dual nationality in 2013 and in an affidavit she said that she neither held dual nationality, nor applied for it.

The other petition filed by Shaishta Pervaiz said that the third MNA Kanwal Shauzab had given wrong information in documents to shift her vote in Rawalpindi from Islamabad. Shaishta’s petition said that Shauzab lived in Islamabad, but when she contested the Senate elections she provided the ECP with the incorrect information regarding her permanent residence. She argued that because of this she was not eligible to retain her National Assembly seat under articles 62 and 63.

The petition requested the court to direct the ECP to remove her for not being honest and righteous.

Another similar petition was moved by Abdullah Khan and Chaudhary Mehmood Ali Hashim. They filed the petition through their counsel Advocate Ahmad Raza Kasuri and cited ECP and the 3 MNAs elected on National Assembly seats reserved for women as respondents.

The petitioners stated that a report of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted to the ECP identified Maleeka as a holder of United Kingdom passport and furthermore, she vide her affidavit in support of the nomination papers confirmed that she had renounced the nationality of UK and surrendered British passport through a declaration signed and stamped by the representative of UK Home Office dated June 11, 2018.

They added that Bukhari submitted her nomination papers on 10-6-18 and remained a dual national 11-6-2018 which indicates the fact that the respondent was still a dual national at 11-6-2018 which was the deadline notified by the ECP for submission of nomination papers.

Similarly, petitioners said that Tashfeen Safdar had held a foreign passport which she surrendered on 25-3-2013. He added she ought to have disclosed her renunciation in the affidavit of her nomination papers dated 8-6-2018 while failure to do so tantamount to malafide, perjury and fabricating false evidence.

The petitioners continued that respondent No 4 Shezzeb Kanwal in her affidavit dated 13-6-2018 stated on oath that ‘[she] was registered as a voter at serial 428 in the electoral roll of electoral area F-8/3 of teshil/taluka Islamabad.’ They contended that it is a fact that respondent No 4 had contested the Senate Election on the general seat from the federal capital during March 2018 but in her nomination papers, Kanwal had stated that she consented to her candidature and details including were not limited to her name but it was inclusive with the name of her husband.

Therefore, they prayed to the court that the respondent no 2, 3 and 4 might be directed to satisfy this court that under what authority of law they were holding public offices and in case the court was not satisfied regarding their legality to hold the public offices, in that eventuality, the ECP might be directed to de-notify them under Article(s) 62 and 63 of the Constitution.