LAHORE: Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday sought replies from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and other respondents on a petition challenging the scrutiny process of candidates’ nomination papers for the upcoming Senate election. The court ordered all the respondents to submit their replies until February 20. The petitioner, advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, had requesting the court to stay upcoming election of the Senate until alleged ‘malafide’ amendments introduced to Elections Act, 2017 to protect corrupt, defaulter and dual nationality holder politicians were not repealed. He had also challenged the scrutiny of nomination papers filed by Rana Maqbool, Shaheen Khalid Butt, Sadia Abbasi, Nuzhat Sadiq, Mushahid Hussain, Zubair Gull, Ahmad Saeed Kirmani and Hafiz Abdul Karim of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), besides Ch Muhammad Sarwar of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. The petition said that the ECP had accepted nomination papers of those candidates who had been in the government service and also had dual nationality. He said that ECP had failed to conduct proper scrutiny of candidates’ nomination papers in a transparent manner. It added that the ECP was not bound to implement the impugned amendments introduced under the act. He asserted that if the Senate election were not stayed the constitutional provisions would be negated. He said that that parliament on October 2, 2017 had passed the impugned Elections Act, 2017 and omitted clauses relating to several declarations in nomination papers required for candidates. He submitted that columns relating to written-off loans, dual nationality, assets, non-payment of utility charges, land revenue record and income tax paid by candidates had been deleted from the nomination paper under the impugned act. He said that all the parties with malafide intention, collusively and cleverly ensured non-disclosure of essential details in the nomination forms to be used in the forthcoming election. He pointed out that the parties had failed to realise that it was a requirement of the supreme law of the land that concealing vital information relating to payment of taxes and written off loans was in conflict with articles 62 and 63 of the constitution. He said that the scrutiny process of nomination papers for Senate polls was defective in terms of articles 62 and and 63. He said that the disclosure of these details was a constitutional requirement and could not be waived or relaxed under the Elections Act, 2017. He also said that the Senate election, if conducted under the impugned law, would destroy the sanctity and legality of the polls. He requested the court to stay the process of Senate election until removal of “errors” in the Elections Act, 2017 by the relevant authorities. Published in Daily Times, February 15th 2018.