Lahore: A Pakistani court has issued notice to former premier and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif seeking his response to a petition asking for him to be disqualified from contesting elections.
Freelance journalist Shahid Orakzai filed the petition in the election tribunal of the Lahore High Court yesterday. Orakzai said that after the 1993 general election, Sharif and his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, had negotiated a deal with him to buy votes of seven members of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament.
In its notice to Nawaz Sharif, the court directed him to file a response by February 15.
The seven parliamentarians belonged to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and their votes were allegedly sought for the election of the speaker of the National Assembly.
Orakzai alleged that Sartaj Aziz, the finance minister in Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet, too was present at the time of the purported deal.
Orakzai further claimed that, according to the deal, the Sharif brothers had to pay him Rs 17.5 million for the task. However, he was given Rs 10.05 million in advance and he bought the votes of the seven parliamentarians.
Despite this, the PML-N candidate in the speaker’s election lost and the Sharif brothers refused to pay him the remaining amount, he claimed.
Orakzai asked the court to summon Nawaz Sharif so that he could explain whether he had negotiated the deal in the presence of Sartaj Aziz, Saifur Rehman, a former chief of the accountability bureau who had registered corruption cases against Pakistan People’s Party chief Asif Ali Zardari at the behest of Sharif, and his brother Mujeebur Rehman.
He further alleged that Sartaj Aziz had promised to give the parliamentarians Rs 1 million each after the election but had backed out after the defeat of the PML-N candidate.
Orakzai claimed that Nawaz Sharif had not provided details of his "criminal cases" to returning officers at the time of filing nomination papers had only given details of three corruption cases.
He asked the court to reject nomination papers filed by Sharif for parliamentary polls and to disqualify him for contesting elections.