KARACHI, Jan 30: The election tribunal of the Sindh High Court has ordered that the two candidates fielded by the Pakistan People’s Party for the Feb 18 by-elections on as many provincial assembly seats in Thatta and Jamshoro-Dadu will stand disqualified if they do not file an affidavit each on Thursday (today) before the provincial election commission to the effect that they do not have dual nationality.
Two election appeals challenging the acceptance of nomination papers of the PPP candidates — Sadiq Ali Memon and Murad Ali Shah — were filed by their rival candidates Abdul Wahid Brohi and Roshan Ali Burio.
Appellant Brohi, represented by Advocate Akhtar Hussain, submitted that he was contesting by-election on PS-84 constituency and he raised objection to the acceptance of Mr Memon’s nominations paper on the ground that he possessed Canadian citizenship.
His counsel pointed out that the respondent candidate was earlier a member of the Sindh Assembly and resigned from the seat following the Supreme Court’s direction to the election commission to obtain fresh declaration on oath from the elected legislators that they did not possess dual nationality.
He said that the returning officer, however, rejected the appellant’s objection on the ground that no documentary proof was submitted in this regard.
A similar stance was taken by appellant Burio, who submitted that he filed his candidature for contesting by-election to the vacant seat (PS-73) Jamshoro-Dadu and the time of scrutiny of nomination papers on Jan 26 he raised objection to the candidature of Mr Shah as he possessed dual nationality and stood disqualified to contest the election under the provisions of Article 963 (1) (c) of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The election tribunal headed by Justice Faisal Arab heard the counsel for the appellants and disposed of the two appeals with identical directions to the PPP candidates who were cited as respondent No. 2 in the respective appeals against them.
The tribunal ordered: “We would have issued notice to Respondent No. 2 but since today is the last date for deciding the appeal by this Tribunal as the notification was communicated to this Court at 3.30 pm today [Wednesday] and tomorrow [Thursday] this Tribunal will become functus officio, therefore, keeping in view the nature of the objections we direct Respondent No. 2 to file affidavit on oath on 31-01-2013 by 2pm before
the Provincial Election Commission, Sindh, that he is not disqualified under Article 63 (1) (c) of the Constitution and in case of his failure to do so it shall be presumed that Respondent No. 2 holds dual nationality in view of the background in which he resigned from the provincial seat in the wake of above referred decision of the Supreme Court and the nomination papers of Respondent No. 2 shall be deemed to have been rejected.”
The tribunal further ordered: “Notice of this order to Respondent No. 2 though publication in newspapers and electronic media shall be deemed to be sufficient notice of service.”
Earlier in the first half of the day, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam issued notices to the provincial election commission, federal and provincial law officers, Sadiq Ali Memon in a constitutional petition against the candidature of the PPP candidate.
Advocate Akhtar Hussain contended that his client did not have adequate alternative remedy “as till today (Wednesday) no tribunal was notified for hearing appeals against the decisions of the returning officers regarding the rejection and/or acceptance of the nomination papers”.
The bench will take up the matter on Thursday (today).