ECP disqualifies Shah Mahmood Qureshi from contesting polls for 5 years

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ECP disqualifies Shah Mahmood Qureshi from contesting polls for 5 years

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi from contesting elections for five years under Article 63 (1)(h) of the Constitution, The News reported Sunday.

In a notice issued by the electoral body, the veteran politician has been disqualified to contest the upcoming general elections set to take place on February 8 next week and subsequent elections.

The notification states that the special court established under the Official Secrets Act found Qureshi guilty in the cipher case and for this, he has been sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and was disqualified under Article 63 (1) (h) of the Constitution.

On January 30, PTI founder Imran Khan and Qureshi were sentenced to 10 years, each, in the cipher case.

The case pertains to allegations that the former prime minister had made public contents of a secret cable sent by the country’s ambassador in Washington to the government in Islamabad. 

According to the ECP notification, Qureshi is also disqualified under Section 232 of the Elections Act, 2017. The senior PTI leader had submitted his nomination papers and was in the run for a National Assembly seat from NA-214 (Tharparkar) Sindh.

The nomination papers of Qureshi and his son Zain Qureshi had been rejected by the returning officer but were allowed to contest by the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) appellate tribunal last month.

Qureshi, who hails from Multan, was a candidate from NA-150 and NA-151 (Multan) for two provincial assembly seats, however, his papers were rejected by the returning officers as well as appeals had also been dismissed by the appellate tribunal of the Lahore High Court (Multan Bench). 

However, his disqualification would not affect the poll process in Tharparkar’s NA-214 — from where he was allowed to contest by the appellate tribunal — for election could only be terminated in case of death of a contesting candidate. 

“In pursuance of judgement dated 30th January 2024, handed down by the judge, special court (Official Secret) Camp Court at the Central Prison Rawalpindi in case No. 01 of 2023 titled as ‘The State Versus Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi and Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi’, whereby, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi has been held guilty u/s 5(3)(a), 5 (1) (c) punishable u/s 5 (3) (b) of OSA 5 (1)(d) punishable u/s 5 (3) (a) of the OSA, 1923 read with Section 34 PPC and convicted and sentenced u/s 5 (3) (a) read with Section 34 PPC and convicted and sentenced u/s 5 (3) (a) read Section 34 PPC and punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term of 10 years, guilty in light of charge u/s 9 read with Section 5 (3) (a) of OSA, 1923 and is convicted and sentenced u/s 5 (3) (a) of OSA, 1923 with rigorous imprisonment for a term of 10 years. All the supra mentioned sentences shall run concurrently,” says a notification issued by the ECP.

“As a consequence, Shah Mehmood Qureshi has become disqualified under Article 63 (1)(h) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan read with Section 232 of the Elections Act, 2017. Therefore, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi is disqualified to contest general elections 2024 and any subsequent elections for a period of five years,” it added.