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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday turned down Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Ali Nawaz Awan’s petition against the victory of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Yousaf Raza Gilani in Senate elections.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition and dismissed it after hearing his arguments. The bench said that party had approached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in this particular case, adding that there were "alternative forums" to address their grievances.

The IHC also dismissed petitioner’s plea to disqualify Gilani’s son Haider Ali Gilani, who is a Member of Punjab provincial assembly.

The court observed that admittedly, the notification of Gilani as a returned candidate has not been issued as yet and it is also not disputed that PTI as a political party has challenged the election of Yousuf Raza Gilani, a joint candidate of opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

It added that the Elections Act, 2017 provides various adequate remedies, which are yet to be exhausted.

The counsel for the petitioner contended that no remedy is available under the Elections Act, 2017 to the petitioner. He argued that it is settled law that when the law requires an act to be done in a particular manner, it ought to be done in that manner alone and not otherwise.

The IHC bench stated in the verdict that the statutory remedies provided under the Elections Act, 2017 for challenging the election of a returned candidate have to be exhausted in the manner provided therein before a constitutional petition can be entertained on the basis of its maintainability.

Justice Athar said, “Moreover, the political party to which the petitioner belongs has already invoked the jurisdiction of the Election Commission of Pakistan. It has been repeatedly observed that invoking the jurisdiction of a High Court in matters involving political content when other forums are available is not in public interest.”

The IHC therefore declared that the petition is not maintainable and dismissed it in limine.

The PTI leader Ali Nawaz filed the petition against the victory of Gilani and cited Gilani, his son Syed Ali Haider Gilani and Chairman Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as respondents.

The petitioner stated that two days before the elections to the Senate, a few video clips surfaced in the electronic and social media. He added that the video clip showed that Ali Haider Gilani is horse-trading illegally and unlawfully offering monetary consideration for votes to certain MNA’s for his father Yousaf Raza.

He continued that the video clips also exposed his instructions to addresses how to render one’s vote useless and this is a sheer and daunting violation of the Constitution of Pakistan and the section 168 of the Election Act, 2017.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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