The Lahore High Court on Wednesday permitted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to contest by-elections in the NA-108 (Faisalabad) and NA-118 (Nankana Sahib) constituencies after rejecting objections to his nomination papers raised by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and a Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) candidate, respectively.
Justice Shahid Waheed of the LHC’s appellate election tribunal issued the orders on two separate pleas filed by Khan through his counsel. In his appeal, the ousted prime minister had said the returning officer for NA-108 had rejected his papers in violation of law and by ignoring the facts, adding his nomination papers for by-elections in seven other constituencies had been accepted. He had asked the tribunal to set aside the returning officer’s decision and allow him to contest the by-election in NA-108.
The objections against the acceptance of Khan’s nomination papers for NA-118 had alleged he had lied by not disclosing details of his family. This too has been set aside.
On Aug. 17, a returning officer of the ECP had rejected Khan’s nomination papers for the NA-108 by-poll, citing “insufficient details regarding his assets.” However, the same papers were accepted for polls in eight other constituencies, with most observers saying it was unlikely he could be rejected from just one constituency.
The ECP has scheduled by-elections on nine constituencies of the National Assembly—NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charsadda, NA-31 Peshawar, NA-45 Kurram, NA-108 Faisalabad, NA-118 Nankana Sahib, Karachi’s NA-237, NA-239, and NA-246—following the speaker’s acceptance of resignations of 11 MNAs of the PTI. Of the accepted resignations, nine were on general seats while two were on reserved seats for women.
Khan is personally contesting all nine by-elections, set to take place on Sept. 25, maintaining that he alone is sufficient to defeat the combined strength of the ruling coalition. The government, meanwhile, claims that Khan is contesting the polls himself because he does not trust any of his party workers to win the polls.