Law does not prohibit absconder from contesting elections: Ishaq Dar

Former finance minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday contended before the Supreme Court (SC) that there was no provision under law and Constitution barring an absconder from contesting elections.
The reply, submitted by Advocate Salman Aslam Butt, says that after the enactment of 18th Amendment, there was no prohibition under the law that Dar could not contest for Senate elections.
“Having canvassed the amendments made to Article 63 of the Constitution … there is no prohibition on a person who has been declared an absconder from contesting the Senate elections. Accordingly, an appeal is liable to be dismissed,” the reply reads.
The reply was submitted to the top court over the petition wherein Dar’s nomination papers for Senate elections had been challenged after Lahore High Court (LHC) had allowed him to contest.
“A person can only be debarred from contesting the elections if his case falls squarely within the strict scope of the qualification and disqualification stipulated by the Constitution and by law. Since the law favours a liberal interpretation … therefore the Writ Petition was not maintainable,” the reply also reads.
The apex court had issued a notice to Dar over a plea against the LHC’s verdict to allow his nomination papers for the Senate election. The three-judge bench, headed by the Chief Justice Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, questioned whether in the prevailing circumstances he would be eligible to contest elections.
On February 17, an appellate election tribunal of the LHC granted Dar permission to contest Senate election, setting aside an order of the returning officer (RO) who had rejected his nomination papers. On March 3, the former finance minister won a Senate seat as a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) backed independent candidate.