Will Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif be able to contest election?


Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Two former prime ministers of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan, have announced to contest elections from different constituencies of the country in the upcoming general elections. However, experts say that there are still obstacles in the way of contesting the elections for both the leaders.

Imran Khan is facing legal difficulties in participating in the elections due to his conviction in the Toshakhana case and Nawaz Sharif due to the decision of the Supreme Court to disqualify him for life.

Imran Khan has announced his intention to contest the election from Mianwali, Lahore and Islamabad while Nawaz Sharif has expressed his intention to contest from Lahore and Mansehra.

Experts say that Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan can submit their nomination papers, but due to one being convicted and the other declared ineligible, the matter of approval of the nomination papers will go to the court.

Imran Khan’s lawyers have filed a petition for suspension of Imran Khan’s sentence in the Toshakhana case in the Islamabad High Court, which was rejected on Thursday, after which PTI has announced to file a petition for suspension of his sentence in the Supreme Court.

Babar Awan, Imran Khan’s lawyer, said in an interview to Voice of America that PTI’s founder chief will participate in the elections and in this context, they have approached the court to suspend his sentence.

On the other hand, on January 2, a seven-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Qazi Faez Isa, will hear the case of lifelong disqualification of members of parliament under Article 62 () (f).

It may be recalled that the previous government had amended the Election Act, after which the period of disqualification under Article 62 (1) (f) has been reduced to five years.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal announced on Wednesday that Nawaz Sharif is the candidate for the prime ministership and the legal difficulties of his participation in the elections will be removed.

‘Suspension of sentence necessary for Imran Khan to contest elections’

Constitutional affairs expert and former chairman Senate Waseem Sajjad says that if the Islamabad High Court suspends Imran Khan’s sentence, he will be able to participate in the elections despite being in jail.

He said that if the court does not suspend the sentence, it will be an obstacle in the way of the former prime minister to contest the election.

Election Commission of Pakistan former secretary Kanwar Dilshad said that both Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif have to go through legal steps to participate in the elections.

Talking to Voice of America said that Article 63 (1) (g) says that no convicted person can participate in the election and Imran Khan is convicted.

It should be remembered that after the Election Commission of Pakistan has released the election schedule, the candidates are continuing to submit their nomination papers.

Nawaz Sharif facing lifelong disqualification

Waseem Sajjad said that although Nawaz Sharif has been acquitted of all his cases, his participation in the elections is still doubtful due to the lifelong disqualification by the Supreme Court.

He said that the larger bench of the Supreme Court has fixed the case of lifelong disqualification of politicians for hearing on January 2 and it is possible that the issue of lifelong disqualification will be clarified in this hearing.

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Waseem Sajjad said that the Supreme Court will also consider the issue of whether the interpretation of the Constitution will be considered by the Supreme Court on the amendment of the Election Act by the previous government to decrease the period of disqualification under Article 62 (1) to five years.

Kunwar Dilshad said that Nawaz Sharif is facing a legal problem of lifelong disqualification, without removing which it does not seem possible for him to participate in the elections.

He said that despite this situation, both the former prime ministers can submit their nomination papers, on which the returning officer will decide to approve or reject the nomination papers.

He said that the decision of the returning officer can be challenged before the presiding pfficer and then in the Supreme Court.

Kanwar Dilshad said that both Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif will have to overcome technical, legal and judicial difficulties to participate in the elections.

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