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Election 2024: SC to hear PTI chairman’s plea seeking level-playing field

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  • PTI chairman filed petition under Article 184(3).
  • How can absconders contest elections, asks acting CJP
  • Law of jungle prevailing in country, claims PTI lawyer.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday fixed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) plea — seeking a level-playing field in the upcoming general elections — for hearing today, Geo News reported.

The development comes during the hearing of cipher case against former prime minister Imran Khan when a PTI lawyer raised the issue before a three-judge bench headed by interim Chief Justice Sardar Tariq Masood.

Lawyer Niazullah Niazi informed the court that PTI candidates are not allowed to file nomination papers.

To which, Justice Masood said the Registrar Office would fix the case for hearing today. “If your candidate is an absconder how can then he file the nomination paper,” he asked the PTI counsel.

At this Niazi shared that “Umair Niazi’s, who is present in the court,  father’s nomination papers were torn apart. The Election Commission has also not announced the verdict regarding the election symbol.”

Later, the court formed a three-member bench comprising acting CJP, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Athar Minallah was to hear the case.

PTI petition

In its petition, the PTI alleged that the district authorities and provincial and federal governments were not treating it on a par with the other political parties.

Barrister Gohar Ali filed the petition in the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution making the federation of Pakistan through its secretary, Ministry of Interior, ECP and chief secretaries of Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Sindh and Balochistan respondents.

He prayed to the apex court to direct the respondents to provide a level-playing field to the PTI for the purpose of free and fair elections, in the interest of justice.

He also prayed that respondents should be restrained from harassing the party workers and leaders and they should be allowed to participate in the election process without any discrimination.

The PTI chairman questioned as to whether the ECP was not under a constitutional duty to conduct free and fair elections and facilitate the largest and most popular political party in the country by providing a level-playing field for the purpose of free and fair elections.

Whether arresting, harassing and snatching of nomination forms, obtained from different returning officers, from workers and leaders of PTI was not illegal, unlawful and against the fundamental rights, guaranteed under the Constitution, the PTI chairman asked.

He also questioned as to whether the returning officers and the ECP were not under a legal obligation to give a free and fair environment and treat PTI on a par with other political parties.

He asked whether not providing a level-playing field to the PTI, and harassing, threatening and abducting party members and snatching nomination forms from them was not a serious threat to democracy.

Gohar informed the SC that he had approached the ECP by filing an application on Dec 19 for conducting free and fair elections while directing all authorities and parties concerned to act impartially and provide a level playing field.

Unfortunately, he added, the ECP remained passive and to date, no order for transparency and fairness of elections had been made, which was damaging the integrity of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Feeling aggrieved, the petitioner also filed a writ petition before the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench, which was yet not fixed, the PTI chairman submitted.

He contended that the district management/ provincial and federal governments were not treating the PTI on a par with the other political parties.

He pointed out that even after the issuance of the schedule by the ECP, the PTI was not being allowed worker conventions, corner meetings or any such political gatherings, which were guaranteed to every other political party in Pakistan.

He submitted that December 20, 2023 was the first day for the submission of nomination forms, according to the schedule issued by the ECP, adding that different PTI workers and leaders obtained nomination forms from different returning officers but not only were those citizens arrested but in some cases the nomination forms were snatched from the party workers/leaders.

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No “major breakthrough” in the opposition-led JUI-F and PTI meeting

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Maulana Fazalur Rehman stated that mending rifts in relationships and getting rid of resentment in an interview with the media in Islamabad with a team from the Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Ayeen-e-Pakistan that paid him a visit.

While no significant progress was made at the meeting, all sides decided to keep in touch in order to plan for the future.

“A positive message,” according to the JUI-F chief, was received with open arms by the delegation. Taking a “united” stance on national issues was the primary goal of the meeting, he said.

Democracy is losing its appeal, and Pakistan’s parliament and constitution are losing their respect. In parliament, Maulana Fazalur Rehman continued, “we should have a single voice.”

Remarking on the event, National Assembly Opposition Leader Omar Ayub thanked the JUI-F leader for ‘warmly’ receiving the group.

We had a fruitful discussion in the meeting, he declared, urging the opposition parties to work with the PTI to “protect” the constitution.

Constitutional violations and a lack of a rule of law are the claims made by Omar Ayub. According to him, there was “no reason” why the police searched the PTI’s Islamabad central secretariat office.

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In the instance of illegal recruitment, Pervaiz Elahi is granted bail.

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The earlier-reserved court ruling was delivered by LHC Judge Sultan Tanveer Ahmad on Tuesday.

LHC had filed a post-arrest bail motion, according to the former chief minister.

On October 25, 2023, Pervaiz was taken into custody by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE).

From June 1 to September 18, Elahi has been arrested in a number of crimes; the most recent one was reported by the Punjab ACE on September 18.

More: Pervaiz Elahi’s condition “deteriorated” in Adiala jail; he was hurried to PIMS.

In the Punjab Assembly, Elahi illegally hired 12 people for grade 17 positions, according to information provided by an ACE representative.

In the provincial assembly, the candidates were chosen through record-altering.

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The bail petition of Parvez Elahi in the Jinnah House attack case has been rejected by the ATC.

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A bail application filed by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) party, in the Jinnah House attack case has been rejected by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on the grounds of prematurity.

ATC Judge Arshad Javed announced the decision during today’s hearing.

The counsel representing Parvez Elahi contended that there was a significant likelihood of his client being arrested in relation to the Jinnah House attack case. It was stated that the ex-Chief Minister had previously been held in custody on judicial remand in other cases.

The petitioner requested the court to authorise the release of Parvez Elahi on bail in the Jinnah House attack case.

Nevertheless, the prosecution argued that the bail petition did not meet the necessary legal criteria, emphasising that Parvez Elahi had not been apprehended in connection with the case.

Considering these considerations, the court rejected Parvez Elahi’s request for release, stating that it was premature since he had not been arrested in the Jinnah House attack case.

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