SC disposes of petition seeking annulment of Feb 8 polls, imposes fine on petitioner

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PTI demands empowered JC sans CJP to probe historic electoral heist

“State should ensure that court-martialed person does not use rank of brigadier,” CJP Isa

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) Wednesday disposed of the petitioner seeking re-election and annulment of the February 8 polls and imposed a fine of Rs500,000 on the petitioner over his failure to appear before the court.

The development comes as a three-member SC bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, comprising Justice Musarrat Hilali and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, conducted the hearing on Brig (retd) Ali Khan’s petition urging the apex court to annul the polls and order re-elections over alleged rigging.

Several political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and others have expressed dissatisfaction over the transparency of the general elections.

Doubts over the polls were further exacerbated by the revelations made by now-former Rawalpindi Division commissioner Liaqat Chatha, who on Saturday, tendered his resignation out of “guilty conscience” for abetting large-scale electoral rigging in the garrison city further raising the political mercury in the country.

During the hearing today, the CJP inquired about the identity of the petitioner. To this, the court was apprised that the applicant is a former military officer who was court-martialed in 2012.

“The state should ensure that a court-martialed person does not use the rank of brigadier,” the court remarked.

Apprising the court on the attempts to establish contact with the petitioner, the additional attorney general said that not only was the police sent to Khan’s house but the Ministry of Defence also had sent a notice — which then was displayed on the gate as the petitioner was unavailable.

“Look at this petitioner [who] left the country after filing the application in the court,” the chief justice said while commenting on the former military officer’s email regarding him being out of the country.

“I have never seen this before,” CJP Isa remarked while questioning if it was a conspiracy that the petitioner fled the country after moving the apex court.

Meanwhile, Justice Mazhar underscored that as per the petitioner himself, he neither spoke to any media outlet nor filed the application.

It is pertinent to mention that political parties are not the only ones with reservations over the transparency of polls as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has also raised concerns about the reliability and trustworthiness of the general elections — especially the post-polling process.