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Yousuf Raza Gilani gets clean chit from ECP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday accepted former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Yousuf Raza Gilani’s nomination papers for the upcoming Senate election.

The ECP’s returning officer rejected a petition filed by a PTI Senate candidate and President PTI from Islamabad Fareed Rehman, who challenged the former premier’s nomination for a Senate seat.

Rehman’s lawyer argued that the former prime minister does not meet the criteria as defined by articles 62 and 63. He also claimed that the former premier “hid facts” in his nomination papers.

He asked the PPP leader’s nomination papers be rejected as NAB was hearing the Toshakhana reference against him. He alleged that the former premier “abused” his powers as a PM.

During a hearing, the former prime minister’s lawyer had contended his client had completed the sentence given to him by the Supreme Court. He said Gilani was then able to contest the election. “Yusuf Raza Gilani’s disqualification ended in 2017,” the lawyer told the ECP. Gilani’s lawyer intervened and said the case against his client was filed to carry out a media trial. He added that the PTI lawyer was only giving references to cases that were under trial.

He also said that if a case is under trial, it does not mean Gilani’s nomination papers should be rejected.

Meanwhile, Returning officer (RO) Zafar Iqbal announced the verdict in favour of Gilani.

The RO ruled that the candidate was convicted under Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and “a period of five years has elapsed since his conviction”, so the candidate “stands qualified” for contesting election to the Senate from Federal Capital.

The order further noted that “All the cases against the candidate are pending adjudication and in the absence of conviction, the candidate cannot be barred from contesting the election.”

It further added that while keeping these facts in view, the nomination papers of Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani are hereby accepted.

Yousuf Raza Gilani is a joint candidate of the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) from Islamabad.

Gilani, who was the prime minister from 2008 till 2012, and was removed after he was convicted by the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the commission has also completed the scrutiny of nomination papers filed by ten candidates for two Senate seats from Islamabad. Nine of the nomination papers have been accepted and one is rejected.

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