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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Wednesday, suspended the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s decision of disqualifying Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Minister for Transport Shah Muhammad for five years for attacking a polling station in Bakka Khel, Bannu district.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition filed by the KP minister who challenged his disqualification for attacking a polling station during the first phase of local government elections.

The IHC bench also issued notices to the ECP and directed it to submit its response. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till February 11 for further proceedings in this matter.

On February 1, the ECP disqualified KP Minister Shah Muhammad for five years for attacking a polling station, snatching election material and creating law and order situation in Bannu’s Bakka Khel.

The election monitoring body had also disqualified his son and ordered police to arrest the supporters of Shah Muhammad and carry out investigation into the matter from all aspects, thoroughly.

The petitioner stated that one night prior to election, i.e., on 18 December 2021 the respondent No. 2 Mamoor Khan Wazir after seeing his defeat made a pre-planned attack with the help of his supporters on the election staff, snatched the polling material and thereby, showing himself an aggrieved person made a false complaint before the ECP against the petitioners.

He added that it is important to mention here that on 19th December 2021 the ECP postponed the election in tehsil Bakka Khel constituency due to law and order situation and constituted a fact-finding inquiry committee with direction to submit its report within seven days.

He continued that with regard to the incident an FIR dated 19 December 2021 was registered and local police carried out investigations, as it is evident from the impugned order, the ECP also summoned DPO Bannu and directed him to provide detailed report with regard to the incident.

The provincial minister further said that subsequently respondent No 2 and 3 filed the complaints before the respondent No 1, wherein, they charged the petitioners for committing unlawful acts.

He informed that on the notice issued by fact-finding committee the petitioners appeared before the committee, made their respective statements and negated the false, frivolous allegations and answered the questions of the committee.

Shah maintained that the so-called complainants just to shelter their unlawful acts lodged false complaints against the petitioners and this very fact is established through the statement of Rasool Nawaz, son of Gul Badshah, made under section 164 CrPC before court of law, as well as, the statements under section 161 CrPC of the others concerned.

He also said that it is clear from the statement of Abdul Slam, recorded under section 164 CrPC, before the court of law that the complainant/ Respondent No 2 i.e., Mamoor Khan Wazir and his father Hadiatullah along with their allies (armed with weapons) entered the polling station, after making hostage entire election staff, snatched the polling material but this aspect of the matter has not been considered by the respondent No 1.

Therefore, he prayed before the court to allow this writ petition and set aside the impugned order dated 01-02-2022 passed by the ECP being contrary to law and 1973 Constitution to meet the ends of justice.

He further prayed that notification dated 01-02-2022 issued by the ECP against him may also be declared illegal and unlawful and consequently, the same may kindly be set aside in the interest of justice.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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