Hanif Abbasi case: How timing of decision deprives PML-N of its candidate

Hanif Abbasi case: How timing of decision deprives PML-N of its candidate

ISLAMABAD: The decision in a narcotics case against senior PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi, pending for the last seven years, announced at a tactical time simply four days before the general elections, has deprived PML-N of fielding some other candidate and losing an important seat in an important city.

It is very clear that the case against Hanif Abbasi could have been decided easily before the issuance of the election schedule or after the conduct of elections. If it had been decided before the issuance of election schedule, Hanif Abbasi could have moved an appeal in the high court and the PML-N could have fielded some other candidate. 

Similarly, the decision could have been announced after the elections. In an unprecedented instance of recent history, this announcement has been made very late at night (11:00pm) on a weekend on such a day and date that Abbasi’s lawyers would have only two working days i.e. Monday and Tuesday, and that too would be wasted in obtaining certified copy of the judgement. Hanif Abbasi could even move an appeal before the high court.

However, the decision is announced after issuance of the election schedule which has made moving appeals before high court in time and contesting elections completely impossible.

Owing to the long pendency of the case, some time back, Hanif Abbasi himself requested the court to decide it against him as early as possible. However his request was rejected.

A senior official in ECP told The News that ballot papers for all the national assembly constituencies of the province of Punjab have already been printed. On condition of not being named, the ECP official told The News that if Hanid Abbasi is convicted today, the ballot papers will be printed again removing his name.