A full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) allowed Maulana Mohammad Ahmad Ludhianvi, leader of the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) , to participate in by-election from PP-78 (Jhang).
The bench headed by Justice Shahid Jamil Khan released the temporary order on a petition of Mr. Ludhianvi, challenging a decision of a two-judge bench that had disqualified him from participation in the by-elections.
While spreading the temporary relief to Mr. Ludhianvi on the grounds that are later to be announced, the bench issued notices to the respondents of the case and fixed Dec 14th, for further hearing.
The Punjab Assembly’s constituency had become vacant after the Supreme Court barred Rashida Yaqoob of the Pakistan Muslim league-N (PML-N) for hiding her assets, while upholding an election tribunal decision in October. Rashida Yaqoob was elected in 2013 as a member of the national assembly, and Mr. Ludhianvi had challenged her election.
Then, the ECP – Election Commission of Pakistan – announced that it would hold a by-election, on December 1st, for which both the aforementioned candidates filed their nomination papers. Though this time Ms. Yaqoob participated as an independent candidate.
The PML-N handed its ticket to Sheikh Sheraz Akram. On a petition filed by him, the two-judge bench on Nov 11, restrained both Ms. Yaqoob and Mr. Ludhianvi from participating in the elections.
Mr Akram had argued that the name of Mr Ludhianvi was included in a list of fourth-schedule and more than a dozen criminal cases were registered against him.
He had also pointed out discrepancy in details of the assets provided by Mr Ludhianvi to the ECP in connection with the 2013 general elections and the upcoming by-poll.
Later on, Mr Akram withdrew his candidature and was replaced by Haji Azad Nasir Ansari as PML-N candidate.
Mr Ludhianvi had challenged the decision contending that FIRs registered against him were not in his knowledge when he filed his nomination papers. He had requested the court to allow him to contest the by-poll and set aside the two-judge bench’s decision.