Islamabad - An Appellate Tribunal will on Monday (today) conduct hearing of the appeals of former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former governor KP Sardar Mehtab Abbasi and former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Ayesha Gulalai who have challenged rejection of their nomination papers by the Returning Officer (RO) for NA-53 Islamabad.

The Appellate Tribunal comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the Islamabad High Court would hear their appeals wherein he had already issued notices to the RO directing him to submit complete record regarding their appeals.

All three nomination papers were rejected on a clause relating to their contributions in their respective constituencies. The candidates, in clause N, could not list down the contributions they had made to their constituencies while serving as public representatives.

The RO rejected Shahid Khaqan’s nomination papers saying, “While scrutinizing the affidavit of candidate Shahid, I found a clause-N of the affidavit made applicable for a class of candidates who served as elected members from any national and / or provincial assemblies to require information in as much as detail/facts/instances of their important contributions for the benefit of their constituencies, such as from NA-36 and NA 50 in year 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2008, 2013. These important contributions for the voters benefit of said constituencies may have included their rights under part-II of the Constitution of 1973 and /are fund based. The requirement of this clause in the affidavit of candidate Shahid despite being wholly applicable is not answered/ completed as the same is filled in with the personal qualities of candidate Shahid such as; (1) his integrity (2) lessening of his assets; (3) he, a tax payer; (4) does not change loyalties” etc.

The former prime minister contended in the appeal that the RO order is against the law and liable to be set aside as under the election act, RO would not reject a nomination paper due to an objection that is not substantial in nature. He has requested the court to set aside this order. Ex-governor KP Sardar Mehtab Abbasi in his appeal adopted that his nomination papers were accepted by an RO in Abbotabad while the same were rejected by an RO in NA-53.

Similarly, former PTI MNA Ayesha Gulalai in her appeal stated that she served as MNA on a seat reserved for women from 2013 to 2018 and has now launched her own political party by the name of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Gulalai (PTIG).

She added that scrutiny of her nomination papers was done on June 18 while Returning Officer (RO) rejected the same on June 19 on unfounded, baseless and unwarranted grounds.

The RO had rejected her nomination papers saying, “While scrutinizing the affidavit of candidate Ayesha, I found a clause-N left blank by her. These important contributions for the voters benefit of said constituencies may have included their rights under part-II of the Constitution of 1973 and /are fund based. The requirement of this clause in the affidavit of candidate Ayesha despite being wholly applicable is not answered/ completed in the way required. The answer given is, “Nill. No fund given to Women MNAs”. But at the same time, she should not say that she did not enjoy the privilege of being an MNA and respective emolument attached to such office of MNA. As I stated, right of voters of constituencies under Part II of the Constitution 1973 are not wholly fund based but also relate to the education of their guaranteed fundamental rights. The affidavit is not duly filled in the way it was required, therefore leaving me with no option but to presume the affidavit being incomplete in its filing”. Gulalai, in her appeal, argued that she has been a human rights activist from Fata and KP and has been advocating women’s rights in her province. She stated that the Canadian High Commission has also awarded her with a ‘voice of hope’ award in recognition of her services.

She said that the RO misconceived that her nomination papers were incomplete.

She continued that her nomination papers were accepted from other constituencies but the RO of NA-53 had rejected the same on unwarranted, whimsical and baseless grounds. She requested the tribunal to set aside the RO order and her nomination papers may be accepted.