The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday declared unlawful the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s decision to disqualify Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Umar Amin Gandapur and Shah Muhammad Wazir from contesting Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa local body polls.
Umar Amin Gandapur, brother of Federal Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, was declared eligible to contest the mayoral election from Dera Ismail Khan.
The court further maintained that the former K-P minister for transport Shah Muhammad Wazir was also eligible to partake in the elections.
However, the court stated that the disqualification of PTI candidate Mamun Rasheed from Baka Khel will remain in place.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued a summary judgment.
Earlier in the day, the IHC had reserved its judgment on disqualification petitions filed against PTI leaders Umar Amin Gandapur and Shah Muhammad Wazir.
The court stated that Umar’s brother, Ali Amin Gandapur, ran his election campaign. However, instead of fining him first – which is typically the first stage at this violation – the ECP directly disqualified him.
It questioned how the ECP could skip the first step.
Earlier this week, the ECP had disqualified Umar Amin Gandapur, from running for mayor in Dera Ismail Khan for flouting the code of conduct of the local government polls.
The ECP also barred Ali Amin Gandapur from addressing any gathering or taking part in any political activity in the district.
Justice Minallah while hearing Wazir’s plea had maintained that a minister picking up a ballot box during elections was a violation.
“The entire political party is responsible for such a serious violation,” Justice Minallah said, adding that such allegations were not trivial.
However, Wazir’s lawyer stated that the allegations against him were made by the opposing candidate and were false.
He claimed that the petitioner, Mohabbat Khan, was not present at the site of the incident, but lodged a complaint nonetheless, adding that he was a member of the opposition party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI).
“What happened at the election was not the work of local people. The area borders Afghanistan, where JUI has a stronghold,” the lawyer said, further alleging that “no one was speaking of those who brought the Taliban into the election from the other side of the border”.
The CJ asked if the opposite side was taking their names too, to which the lawyer stated that even they were not naming them.
Last week, the ECP had disqualified Shah Muhammad Wazir for five years because he was found guilty of attacking a polling station, snatching election material and causing unrest in Bakka Khel, Bannu district of K-P during the first phase of local government polls in the province.