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Another bench dissolved after judge recuses to hear PTI candidate’s appeal against ECP

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LAHORE: Another bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) was dissolved on Monday after a judge recused himself from hearing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jamshed Iqbal Cheema’s petition against the rejection of his nomination papers.

It is the second time that an LHC judge has refused to hear the case of PTI leader Cheema and his wife, who is his covering candidate for the NA-133 by-polls scheduled for December 5.

Both the PTI leaders’ nomination papers were rejected by the returning officer (RO) as their proposer and seconder were not from NA-133. Having a proposer and seconder from the constituency up for grabs is a key requirement of the Election Commission of Pakistan for contesting the elections.

On November 5, the tribunal consisting of Lahore High Court Justice Shahid Jameel dismissed their appeals after hearing arguments of the petitioners, PML-N and the ECP.

Cheema’s lawyer had claimed before the tribunal that votes of his proposers and seconders were previously in NA-133 but were later transferred to another constituency.

“In the previous election where did they cast their votes,” the tribunal had asked. At this, Cheema’s lawyer had replied that their votes were registered in NA-133 at that time but now the constituency has been bifurcated.

Following the tribunal’s decision, the PTI leaders had challenged the rejection of their nomination papers in LHC.

After receiving the petitions, LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti formed a bench comprising Justice Shahid Waheed and Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal to hear the writ petition.

However, last week, Justice Waheed recused himself from hearing the petition and referred it to the chief justice for fixing it before another bench.

Considering this the LHC chief justice formed a new bench comprising Justice Shujaat Ali Khan and Justice Faisal Zaman.

But that was dissolved as well after Justice Zaman recused himself from the case for “personal reasons”.

Cheema approaches LHC

PTI leader Cheema and his covering candidate Mussarat moved to the LHC on November 9 requesting it to set aside the RO’s decision.

The petitioners have also asked LHC to delay the by-polls scheduled by ECP.

The petitioners requested LHC for an announcement of a fresh election schedule after a correction of the ECP’s record.

“The ECP should perform its constitutional duty of preparing accurate electoral rolls, to enable all eligible voters to exercise their right and guard against the corrupt practices of including non-residents as voters to affect the election result,” the petition reads.

The petitioners further maintained that they were surprised and shocked to see that their proposer Bilal Hussain’s name was not mentioned in the electoral rolls of NA-133.

“The proposer Bilal Hussain was a resident of Mohallah Liaquat Abad, Kot Lakhpat which falls under the jurisdiction of NA-133,” the petition stated.

The petitioners further claimed that all of Hussain’s family members are residents of the same address and registered voters of NA-133.

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