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ECP halts issuance of nomination forms after LHC verdict

ECP halts issuance of nomination forms after LHC verdict

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has stopped issuance of the nomination forms for General Election 2018 after the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The court ruled that the nomination form to be submitted by candidates for upcoming general elections does not include mandatory information and declarations as required from the aspiring lawmakers by the Constitution and law.

The ECP in a press statement said it has called an emergency meeting at its secretariat on Saturday (today) to make decisions about improving Forms A and B in light of the court order.

It also directed returning officers across the country not to receive the nomination forms.

The Judgement

Justice Ayesha Malik in her judgement on Friday ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure that all mandatory information and declarations are part of the revised Form A, the nomination form for election to an assembly or the Senate, and Form B, the statement of assets and liabilities.

The court issued its judgement on a petition asking the court to declare the two forms unconstitutional.

The petitioner’s lawyer Saad Rasool contended before the court that the forms had been amended by the parliament to omit vital information and mandatory declarations required under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution that give voters an idea about a candidate’s credibility.

“The impugned forms do not provide for mandatory information and declarations as required by the Constitution and the law,” Justice Malik wrote in the 39-page judgement.

“The lack of disclosure and information [in Forms A and B] essentially means that a voter will not have the required information on the basis of which an informed decision can be made.”

In support of his arguments, the petitioner’s counsel had attached a comparative chart showing the difference between the 2008, 2013 and 2018 nomination forms which he claimed showed that vital information was missing from the new forms.

While partially allowing the petitions, the court ruled that the ECP is empowered to add to or improve Form A and B “so as to fulfil its constitutional mandate of ensuring honest, just and fair elections”.

The judge dismissed the petitioner’s challenge to the drafting of the nomination form by the parliament for having no merit.

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