Supreme Court dismisses PPP, PAT's petitions challenging Kulsoom's candidature

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday dismissed the petitions challenging Kulsoom Nawaz's candidacy in the NA-120 by-polls, which alleged that the wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had not declared her assets in the nomination papers.

A three-member SC bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, was hearing the case on Monday — a day after the NA-120 by-polls were held. Unofficial results of the NA-120 by-polls show PML-N candidate Kulsoom Nawaz as the winner. The PPP nominee for NA-120, Faisal Mir, had challenged the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict in the apex court on Friday.

The PPP leader urged the SC to quash the high court's September 13 verdict, which dismissed the appeals challenging the acceptance of Kulsoom's nomination papers.

An LHC full bench with a 2-1 majority decision had dismissed three identical petitions challenging Kulsoom's candidature.

PPP's Faisal Mir, Pakistan Awami Tehreek's (PAT) Advocate Ishtiaq Ahmad Chaudhry, and Milli Muslim League's (MML) Nabeel Shahzad had filed the petitions invoking the writ jurisdiction of the LHC. They had challenged the decisions of the returning officer and an election tribunal, whereby nomination papers of Kulsoom Nawaz were accepted.

The petitions claimed that Kulsoom had failed to submit full details of her tax returns and statements of assets and liabilities. The application said that she purposely concealed her assets and did not disclose a United Arab Emirates iqama (work permit) with her nomination papers, therefore she is ineligible to participate in the by-election under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

However, Justice Gulzar maintained that the nature of the case filed against Kulsoom was different as Nawaz was disqualified on the basis of the joint investigation team's discovery of a receivable salary that he had failed to declare in his nomination papers of 2013, while no such proof is available against Kulsoom.

The bench demanded that the complainants should provide details of the assets which they claim were allegedly hidden by Kulsoom.

"Do not mislead the court," Justice Faiz Essa remarked. "Everyone is bound to respect the public's mandate."

Earlier, Lahore High Court (LHC) had turned down Mir's petition as well. He had then challenged the LHC decision in the SC.

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