Waheeda Shah case: SC stays by-poll in PS-53; admits appeal for hearing

ISLAMABAD: Admitting Waheeda Shah’s appeal for hearing, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the authorities to stop the by-election in the provincial assembly constituency of PS-53 Tando Mohammad Khan, DawnNews reported.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk, admitted Shah’s appeal for hearing.

After the arguments by Shah’s counsel, Hashmat Habib, the bench issued a restraining order for the PS-53 by-election which had been scheduled for Dec 4.

Shah had filed the appeal against the rulings of the Sindh High Court and the Election Commission of Pakistan.

On Nov 4, Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Fakhrudin G. Ebrahim had upheld the disqualification of Shah, a candidate who had slapped an election official during polling on Feb 25 in the by-election of the PS-53 constituency of Sindh Assembly. Her disqualification had barred her from being elected as a member of an assembly for two years.

According to the CEC’s verdict, Shah had been found guilty of slapping Presiding Officer Habiba Memon and others during the polling of by-elections at the polling station No 16 and had therefore been found guilty of interfering in the polling process.

The ECP had earlier taken serious notice of the incident and by a majority decision, thereafter directed the returning officer to take cognisance of the offence under the relevant section of the Representation of the People’s Act, 1976.

The returning officer, vide decision dated March 5, 2012, had convicted Shah of committing an offence under Section 86(3)(b) of the act and imposed a fine of Rs1,000 on her.

In pursuance thereof, on March 7, 2012, the ECP had declared the poll of PS-53 void under Section 103-AA of the Act and disqualified Shah from being elected as a member of an assembly for two years under Section 100 of the Act by separate majority decisions.

Subsequently, the Sindh High Court had maintained her conviction but quashed her disqualification on the ground that the power to disqualify under Section 100 of the Act rested exclusively with the Chief Election Commissioner and not with the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Shah was subsequently declared disqualified by the CEC.