PTI moves Election Commission to disqualify Zardari as legislator

PTI moves Election Commission to disqualify Zardari as legislator
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Speaking to the media following the submission of the application, PTI leader Khurram Sherzaman said that Zardari had violated the law — as a member of the National Assembly (NA) — by not declaring his full assets. (AFP/File)
PTI moves Election Commission to disqualify Zardari as legislator
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PTI leaders, Khurram Sherzaman and Firdous Shamim Naqvi, met with the Provincial Election Commissioner, Sindh, Muhammad Yousuf Khan Khattak, at ECP’s regional office in Karachi on Thursday. (AN Photo)
PTI moves Election Commission to disqualify Zardari as legislator
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This picture shows image of an application submitted by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party with the Election Commission of Pakistan, seeking Zardari’s disqualification, on Thursday. (Provided by PTI)
PTI moves Election Commission to disqualify Zardari as legislator
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Member of Provincial Assembly, Khurram Sherzaman, addresses the media outside ECP’s regional office in Karachi on Thursday. (AN Photo)
Updated 21 December 2018

PTI moves Election Commission to disqualify Zardari as legislator

PTI moves Election Commission to disqualify Zardari as legislator
  • Petitioner claims former president had concealed his property in New York
  • Some analysts believe he may be apprehended within a week

KARACHI: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party visited the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday, seeking the disqualification of the country’s former president and leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari, for his failure to declare assets allegedly owned by him in New York.
Muhammad Yousuf Khan Khattak, the Provincial Election Commissioner, initially refused to accept the application reasoning it should be submitted to the ECP secretary in Islamabad. However, he accepted it after consulting with his legal team on the insistence of PTI leaders — Khurram Sherzaman and Firdous Shamim Naqvi.
“The application should have been submitted to the secretary’s office in Islamabad, but we have now accepted it and will forward it to the central office,” Khattak told Arab News, adding that the petition would be considered for hearing after its maintainability is determined.
Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad, former ECP Secretary, told Arab News that a larger bench, comprising Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and all four provincial commissioners, would decide the case in accordance with the law if the petition is considered maintainable. “The ECP may disqualify Zardari if he is found guilty under the law,” Dilshad said.
Speaking to the media following the submission of the application, Sherzaman said that Zardari had violated the law —  as a member of the National Assembly (NA) — by not declaring his full assets.
“Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, former President of Pakistan, Co-Chairperson of Pakistan People’s Party, and current Member of the National Assembly from NA-213, has violated the law by not declaring his full assets,” reads the application, adding that the former president, under the Constitution of Pakistan and Rules of the Election Commission, should be disqualified from holding public office under Article 62 (1)(f), as he had ceased to be truthful.
“It has come to my knowledge that Mr. Zardari owns an apartment in Bellaire Condominiums located at 524 East 72nd Street, New York, United States of America and has not declared this asset in his nomination form under Section 60(2) of the Elections Act 2017 for the recent election of July 25, 2018,” the petition states.
Sherzaman added that he had also attached documents of the property in question along with Form B of Asif Ali Zardari, which states that he had not declared the said property.
“This serious violation of the law needs to be examined by you since Mr. Zardari is a former President of Pakistan and co-chairs one of the major political parties of this country. As a former President of Pakistan, Mr. Zardari is a role model to the nation and, therefore, he must be transparent and truthful when it comes to declaring his assets,” reads the application, available with Arab News. 
The PTI leader said that Zardari should not only be de-seated from the NA, but the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should also probe the property and question the PPP leader about how he had acquired the property in the US. “Once [the matter is] taken up, all due procedures will be adopted,” Khattak said.
Mazhar Abbas, a Karachi-based political analyst, said he was skeptical that the petition would result in the early disqualification of the former president. “It will take time but the petition will certainly put further pressure on Zardari, who is facing a highly-likely arrest in the fake accounts case,” Abbas told Arab News.
He added that leaked excerpts from the Joint Investigation Team report, scheduled for submission in the apex court on December 24, indicated that Zardari could be arrested.
“The same day, another verdict in Mian Nawaz Sharif’s case is also expected. These actions against Zardari will bring both parties closer and may create problems for the PTI in the coming months, which, otherwise, enjoys good relations with powerful quarters,” Abbas said.