Now Pervaiz Elahi & Sanam Javid of PTI can contest Feb 8 polls

In a significant development on Friday, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) received substantial relief from the highest court, as five of its candidates, including the party president Parvez Elahi, who is currently incarcerated, were granted approval to participate in the upcoming elections scheduled for February 8.

Apart from Elahi, the Supreme Court granted appeals from PTI candidates Umer Aslam, Major (retd) Tahir Sadiq, Sanam Javaid Khan, and Shukat Basra, who had contested the decisions of returning officers to reject their nomination papers from various constituencies.

Parvez Elahi, presently detained in Adiala Jail, sought permission from the Supreme Court to contest the general election from the PP-32 constituency in Gujarat district. The former Punjab chief minister contested the Lahore High Court’s decision, which upheld the Election Tribunal’s rejection of his nomination papers.

Advocate Faisal Siddiqui represented Elahi before the three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, and Justice Athar Minallah. Siddiqui pointed out discrepancies in objections raised by rival candidates and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Stressing the urgency of the matter, Siddiqui implored the court to grant Elahi permission to participate in the upcoming elections in Gujarat. Justice Minallah emphasized that voters should not be deprived of their right to vote, stating that a returning officer is meant to facilitate, not obstruct, the election process.

Justice Shah highlighted the inclusive nature of elections, stating that Article 17 prohibits barring individuals from contesting elections without valid reasons. After considering the arguments, the apex court declared the rejection of Elahi’s nomination papers from PP-32 invalid, allowing him to contest elections from the Gujarat provincial assembly seat.

Elahi withdrew appeals against the rejection of nomination papers from other constituencies. Various objections were raised against Elahi’s papers, including asset concealment, non-disclosure of shares, non-compliance with banking regulations, technical document mistakes, and the submission of unverified documents.

Parvez Elahi, a senior PTI leader, was initially arrested on June 1 last year in connection with a Rs70 million graft case related to the embezzlement of development funds for Gujrat district. He has been in custody since, facing multiple arrests in different cases, including money laundering and alleged illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly.

In addition to Elahi, the Supreme Court granted permission for PTI candidates Tahir Sadiq and Omer Aslam Awan to contest elections from NA-49 (Attock) and NA-87 (Khushab) constituencies, respectively. Sanam was permitted to contest polls from NA-119, NA-120, and PP-125, while Basra was cleared to compete in elections from NA-163 (Bahawalnagar).