ANI Photo | Pak: Peshawar Court bars KP govt from disqualifying PTI members from Feb 8 polls

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Friday barred the inclusion of the names of the former National Assembly speaker and other members of the Pakistan Assembly of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the fourth schedule aimed at keeping the petitioners out of the Feb 8 polls, Pakistan-based Pakistan Today reported.
The Peshawar High Court asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government not to take any action against the petitioners and sought a response from them by January 23.
The caretaker government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s decision to include the names of former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ministers resulted in the rejection of their nomination papers for the upcoming elections.
A single-member bench comprising Justice Waqar Ahmed presided over the hearing of petitions filed by former PTI leaders against the inclusion of their names in the fourth schedule, Pakistan Today reported.
During the court proceedings, the petitioners’ lawyer, Syed Sikandar Hayat Shah, presented arguments and evidence supporting his contention that recommendations to include former assembly members in the fourth schedule had been formally made. Shah said that the petitioner was himself a former assembly member and a victim of terrorism.
During the hearing, Provincial Attorney General Daniyal Chaudhry said that the district anti-terrorism coordination committee had recommended the inclusion of these names in the schedule. However, he stated that actual inclusion has not been made so far, according to Pakistan Today report.
The list of people recommended for inclusion in the fourth schedule includes Pakistan’s former National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and former members of Pakistan Assembly, including Amjad Ali, Gul Zafar, Abdul Salam, Zaher Shah, Fazal Hakim, Iftikhar Mashwani, Mian Sharifat Ali, and others.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Senate passed a resolution on Friday seeking to delay the polls due to ‘security concerns’, Pakistan-based Dawn reported. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Afnan Ullah Khan opposed the non-binding resolution, which was moved by independent Senator Dilawar Khan during a session with only 15 lawmakers in attendance.
The Upper House of Parliament has a total of 100 members. The general elections in Pakistan are scheduled to be held on February 8. Dilawar said the Constitution upheld the right to vote for every citizen of Pakistan and the Election Commission of Pakistan was bound to conduct free and fair polls contingent upon inclusivity and ensuring the participation of all regional people, as per the Dawn report.
“The voter turnout in colder areas remains notably high during moderate weather conditions. January and February are recognised as the coldest months in the majority of the areas in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said.
Dilawar noted that various political parties had expressed reservations about facing difficulty ensuring participation in colder areas during the electoral process. He also expressed “great concern” on recent attempts on the lives of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman, former lawmaker Mohsin Dawar, and other political figures.
“The Ministry of Interior has conveyed serious threats to the lives of prominent politicians, increasing the challenges faced by political parties in exercising their right to a free and fair election,” Dawn quoted Dilawar as saying.
He further highlighted that there had been a spike in attacks on security forces and citizens, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Speaking on criticism of the resolution, Dilwar said that the senators from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan had voiced concerns regarding rising terrorism in the two provinces and the impossibility of elections in such an environment, according to Dawn report.
He said a group of senators had then consulted each other and agreed that “as ensuring elections within 90 days after an assembly’s dissolution was a constitutional requirement, so was ensuring the fundamental right to vote for every citizen.”
Notably, the elections in Pakistan would have been held in October-November after the National Assembly was dissolved in August. However, the polls got delayed after Election Commission of Pakistan decided to conduct fresh delimitation ahead of the polls.

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