KARACHI - The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday gave another chance to the Election Commission of Pakistan and others to submit their reply on the identical petitions seeking disqualification of former lawmakers belonging to the Pakistan Peoples’ Party. A division bench headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar has expressed its annoyance on the respondents for not submitting their replies.

The petitions were filed by Moazzam Abbasi, Muhammad Zubair, Mir Punhal Khan Talpur and Mumtaz Ali Chandio, who had challenged the eligibility of former PPP MNA Faryal Talpur, former MPAs Nasir Hussain Shah, Sohail Anwar Siyal, Manzoor Wasan and Mir Nawab Ghaibi Sardar Khan Chandio to contest the upcoming general polls.

In its remarks, the bench has said that despite giving several chances to the Election Commission of Pakistan and other respondents to submit their reply but they failed to do so. A representative from the ECP appeared before the bench and pleaded to grant further time to submit their comments.  The court has been pleaded by the petitioners to restrain the newly elected PPP lawmakers, who allegedly hold iqama, from talking oath as members of provincial assembly, but the court rejected the pleas.

On the request of the EC, the court has adjourned hearing until September 5.

Mr Abbasi, through his counsel Khawaja Shams-ul-Islam, submitted that Ms Talpur, a sister of former president Asif Ali Zardari, had set up a company in the name of her daughter in Dubai in 2002, but she concealed the details of the money transferred to Dubai from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The petitioner maintained that Ms Talpur was holding an iqama (work permit) of the United Arab Emirates and did not disclose it in her nomination papers.

Mr Talpur challenged the candidature of the ex-MPA Manzoor Wassan, arguing that he also possessed an iqama, thus he was not eligible to take part in the upcoming general elections. Mr Chandio, through his counsel Mureed Ali Shah, submitted that Sardar Khan Chandio also possessed an iqama but he concealed the details of the money transferred abroad from the ECP.

However, respondent Chandio’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan contended that the plea was not maintainable since the tenure of his client as a lawmaker had already ended. He added that the petitioner might approach the ECP if he had any complaint against the former lawmaker. The petitioners’ counsel argued that the concealment of facts tantamount to violation of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution read with Sections 99(I)(f) of the Representation of People Act 1976 and pleaded for disqualification of the former PPP parliamentarians.