PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Monday issued a stay order stopping the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from notifying the elected candidate on a seat reserved for women allocated to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for the tribal merged districts.
Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Mohammad Naeem Anwar issued notices to the respondents, including the ECP and PTI nominee Mehreen Rauf Afridi, on a petition filed by another candidate of the same party, Ayesha Bibi, against the rejection of her nomination papers by an election appellate tribunal on Sept 13.
The tribunal had allowed an appeal of Mehreen Rauf Afridi and had set aside the relevant returning officer’s order of accepting the nomination papers of Ayesha Bibi.
While the tribunal has yet to release its detailed judgment, appellant Mehreen Afridi had claimed that Ayesha Bibi was not qualified to contest election for the said seat as her vote wasn’t registered anywhere in the tribal merged districts.
Another candidate challenges rejection of her papers by appellate tribunal
Petitioner Ayesha Bibi has been mentioned in Serial No 1 of the priority list of candidates for the reserved seats by the ruling PTI, while the appellant, Mehreen Rauf Afridi, is in Serial No 3.
The name of another woman, Wafa Wazir, is in Serial No 2 but she is out of contest due to the rejection of her nomination papers.
Advocate Jahangir Khan Mohmand appeared for the petitioner and informed the court that the tribunal had disqualified his client without assigning any reason.
He said while the detailed order of the court was awaited, his client feared that the ECP would issue a notification and declare another candidate as the MPA on the said reserved seat.
The lawyer contended that the returning officer had accepted nomination papers of the petitioners after fulfilling all legal requirements and going through the record.
He requested the court to issue a stay order against action of the impugned order of the appellate tribunal and stop the ECP from issuing the notification of the successful candidate on the reserved seat.
As per the number of general seats won by political parties in the July 20 provincial assembly polls in the erstwhile Fata, two of the four women reserved seats were allocated to PTI and one each to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).
However, as the PTI earlier gave only the name of Ms Aneeta Mehsud, while the BAP didn’t submit any priority list, two of the seats had remained vacant for which the fresh election’s schedule was issued by the ECP.
The ECP has already allocated the said two seats to PTI and BAP and had directed the two parties to submit their priority lists of candidates until Aug 26.
Petitioner Ayesha Bibi claims that she had submitted Form 21 for the registration of her vote to the Election Commission of Pakistan on Aug 16 before the imposition of the ban on registration of voters in the erstwhile Fata on Aug 19.