Pakistan’s former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday received a partial reprieve as the Lahore High Court suspended an election tribunal’s decision barring him from contesting the July 25 general election from Rawalpindi.
The Punjab Election Appellate Tribunal presided by Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi had ruled on Wednesday that Abbasi was not honest as per certain provisions of the Constitution and disqualified him for life from any public office.
Abbasi on Thursday challenged the decision in the Lahore High Court where a two-member bench headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi suspended his disqualification till final adjudication of his appeal.
The Lahore High Court bench also summoned the federal government and the Election Commission of Pakistan on July 2.
The suspension of the disqualification means that Abbasi is still in the race.
Abbasi’s counsel Khawaja Tariq Rahim had raised questions over the jurisdiction of the election tribunal to disqualify a candidate. In the petition, he had requested the high court to set aside the verdict and allow Abbasi to contest election from NA-57 located in Rawalpindi district.
Abbasi had filed nominations for NA-53 Islamabad and NA-57 Rawalpindi. The election officials initially rejected his bid from Islamabad and accepted from Rawalpindi. Later, he was allowed to contest from Islamabad. But his Rawalpindi nomination was challenged by a rival candidate and the tribunal disqualified him over alleged concealment of assets.
Masood Abbasi had accused the former premier of tampering with the nomination papers and illegally occupying forest land in his native Murree city near Islamabad, and certain other objections including not declaring the exact worth of a house in Islamabad.