ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday halted the election to parliament of the leader of a banned hardline sectarian group, officials said.
An election tribunal earlier this month declared Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi, head of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), the elected member for the town of Jhang. Ludhianvi, whose organisation is listed as a terrorist outfit by the government, came second in the seat in the May 2013 general election to Shaikh Mohammad Akram of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party. But he took the matter to an election tribunal and successfully challenged Akram over allegations of vote-rigging and defaulting on a loan.
On Tuesday a three-judge Supreme Court panel stayed the tribunal’s ruling until Akram has appealed. “The bench today suspended the order of the election tribunal disqualifying Shaikh Mohammad Akram and the notification by Election Commission of Pakistan declaring Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi a returned candidate,” a court official told AFP. The court would hear the appeal in three months time, he added. Akram’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan argued that the tribunal could not declare the runner-up as victor because when a candidate was disqualified, a fresh election should be held.
Ludhianvi ran on the ticket of the six-party religious alliance Muttahida Deeni Mahaz (United Religious Front), which did not win a seat in the vote last year. ASWJ is also known as the political arm of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
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