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ECP Panama leaks hearing: Nawaz seeks disqualification of petitions

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday filed an application with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), seeking disqualification of petitions submitted against him by opposition parties in light of the Panama Papers leak.

Nawaz termed allegations levelled by four opposition parties against him as “baseless”, saying he has no association with any offshore company mentioned in Panama Papers.

The ECP, during its last hearing, sought the premier’s reply on petitions filed by the Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Awami Tehreek and Awami Muslim League.

Former Attorney General Salman Butt appeared before the five-member commission and submitted reply on behalf of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Butt also submitted replies on behalf of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Hamza Shahbaz and Captain Safdar.

The documents submitted before the commission argued that no tangible evidence was produced by the petitioners against the prime minister and challenged the ECP’s jurisdiction, stating the commission was not authorised to disqualify a member of the parliament.

The PM’s counsel urged the ECP to first take up application challenging jurisdiction of the commission.

Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Raza remarked that the commission would decide the issue of its jurisdiction first, adjourning hearing till November 2.

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