IHC dismisses PTI petition challenging Gilani’s Senate victory

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday dismissed a petition filed by PTI’s Ali Awan challenging the Senate victory of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

During today’s proceedings, the court also rejected a plea to disqualifying the former premier’s son, MPA Ali Haider Gilani

Earlier this week, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) formally nominated Gilani as its candidate for the office of the Senate chairman.

Gilani caused a major upset by defeating Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the March 3 Senate poll on a general seat from Islamabad.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah announced the verdict after listening to the arguments. During the hearing, the PTI MNA told the court that the party wished to bring transparency to the electoral process.

However, the IHC CJ remarked that the party had approached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in this regard, adding that there were “alternative forums” to address their grievances. “The election process is currently ongoing and, under the Election Act, you have other forums [for addressing your grievances],” he said.

“Tell us how the court can ignore these forums and hear this writ petition,” the chief justice asked. “You are levelling allegations of selling votes. Some of your own are included in this,” he remarked.

“The court has faith in Parliament and has always respected parliamentarians.” The chief justice added that it was everyone’s responsibility to abide by the law. “Your case is pending in the ECP. Use that forum first,” the judge told the PTI MNA.

“You are a good and respectable public representative, why have you brought such a petition,” he questioned, adding that “this writ petition is not admissible on this occasion.” “It is not appropriate to bring political issues to the court unnecessarily,” the judge said.

The development comes a day after the ECP rejected a petition filed by the PTI seeking to stop the issuance of the notification for Gilani’s victory.

The ECP asked the PTI to file an amended petition and make the lawmakers, who it alleged had been bribed, a party to it.

The petition filed last week by ruling PTI lawmakers Farrukh Habib, Maleeka Bokhari and Kanwal Shauzab had asked the ECP not to issue the notification regarding the opposition candidate’s victory in Senate elections.

The petitions had been filed on the basis of a leaked audio clip of Sindh Minister Nasir Hussain Shah purportedly bargaining with four PTI lawmakers for their votes in Senate elections and a video of Gilani’s son, Ali Haider Gilani, in which he was explaining to some PTI MNAs the techniques to waste their votes and purportedly offering money and development funds.