Senior Minister for Industries and Defence Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi addressed a public gathering in Sahiwal on Monday in spite of a Lahore High Court order barring him from doing so. The gathering was in connection with Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) candidate Muzaffar Shah’s by-elections campaign for the Sahiwal constituency due on October 13.
The court order, issued by Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh of the Lahore High Court (LHC), comes after a petition was submitted by Pir Khyzer Hayat Khagga of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Shah’s rival candidate in the elections.
The petitioner submitted that according to a notification issued by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) on September 27 2011, no minister or government functionary can participate in an election campaign after the election schedule has been issued.
Khagga stated in his petition that a circular from Elahi’s office was issued to the District Coordination Officer (DCO) and City Police Officer (CPO) of Sahiwal to ensure security at the venue where he was to make his address. This, he said, meant Elahi was using government resources for the candidate of his choice. He submitted that he filed an application with the CEC but to no avail.
Taking action
The petitioner also requested the court to issue strict directives to the DCO and CPO to stop the senior minister from delivering his speech. He also requested the court to issue directives to the minister to refrain from taking part in the campaign.
Following the petition, the LHC directed the DCO and CPO to ensure the compliance of the order by not allowing the minister to address the public gathering.
The petitioner’s counsel told The Express Tribune that the minister was duly informed about the court order, but he “deliberately violated” it. A contempt of court petition would be filed in the LHC against the minister, the DCO and the CPO, he added.