ECP dismisses PTI plea seeking Gilani’s disqualification

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The Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday dismissed PTI lawmakers’ petition to disqualify Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani over “corrupt practices”, saying he had no link to the case.

However, the ECP ordered the district election commissioner Islamabad to start a criminal case under Sections 167 (corrupt practices) and 168 (bribery) of the Elections Act, 2017 against Gilani’s son, Punjab Assembly lawmaker, Ali Haider Gilani, as well as PTI MNAs Faheem Khan and Captain (retd) Jamil Ahmed Khan.

In its order, the Election Commission stated that it had been “proved” that Ali, Faheem and Jamil had indulged in corrupt practices, adding the punishment under Sections 167 and 168 could be up to three years in jail or a fine of Rs100,000 or both. During the hearing, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said the facts of the case were not presented properly. He noted that 20 hearings had been conducted and applications for adjournment were filed 12 times.

Following the Senate elections on March 3 last year, PTI lawmakers Farrukh Habib, Maleeka Bokhari and Kanwal Shauzab had filed a petition in the ECP, asking it to not issue the notification for Gilani’s victory.

However, the ECP had rejected the plea to stop the issuance of the notification. The petition was filed on the basis of a leaked audio clip, purportedly of Sindh Minister Nasir Hussain Shah bargaining with four PTI lawmakers for their votes in the Senate elections and a video of Ali in which he appears to be showing some PTI MNAs techniques on how to waste their votes. “Ali kept bribing members of the National Assembly,” the petitioners had claimed. They also alleged that PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, in her speeches, made promises of giving lawmakers PML-N tickets in the next general elections.