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Supreme Court Petition Challenges SHC Decision Allowing Bilawal Bhutto’s Participation in General Election

Just hours prior to the 2024 elections in the country, a petition has been lodged in the Supreme Court challenging the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) January 23 decision that permitted PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to participate in the election under the symbol “arrow,” allocated to Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians (PPP-P).

Shah Mohammad Zaman, the petitioner, previously approached the SHC last month, seeking Bilawal’s disqualification for alleged non-disclosure of facts through misrepresentation. The petitioner contended that Bilawal, as the PPP chairman with the assigned election symbol of a sword, unlawfully contested the 2018 elections from National Assembly constituency NA-200 under the PPP-P banner, using the symbol of an arrow, led by his father, Asif Ali Zardari.

In this recent plea to the Supreme Court, the petitioner asserted that according to Section 203 of the Elections Act, 2017, an individual cannot be a member of more than one political party simultaneously. The petitioner claimed that Bilawal neither suspended his membership nor resigned from the PPP chairmanship, continuing to contest the election as the nominated candidate of another political party, a direct violation of Section 203 of the Elections Act, 2017.

The petitioner contended that the High Court’s judgment did not provide any interpretation of Sections 66, 203, and 205 of the Elections Act, 2017. Referring to Article 10-A of the Constitution, the petitioner emphasized the fundamental right of “due process” for every citizen, including the respondents.

Furthermore, the petitioner argued that both Bilawal and the Election Commission of Pakistan failed to present documentary evidence regarding any alliance between the political parties, as mandated by the Election Act. The petitioner highlighted that only one alliance, named Grand Democratic Alliance, was registered before the Election Commission, contrary to the claimed alliance or combination.

The complainant implored the apex court to endorse his petition against the SHC’s January 23 order, challenging the eligibility of Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to contest the election under the arrow symbol.

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