LAHORE – The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside the election tribunal’s decision regarding deseating PML-N’s leader Khawaja Saad Rafique from the National Assembly in NA-125 rigging case.

A two-judge bench, headed by Sheikh Azmat Saeed, announced the judgment on the appeal filed by Rafique against the tribunal’s verdict. The apex court had reserved the verdict on the plea on March 19.

On May 4 of 2015, the election tribunal, on complaint of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Hamid Khan, had ordered re-polling in Lahore’s NA-125 after irregularities were proven during the 2013 general elections.

Rafique had emerged victorious in the polls after securing 123,416 votes against Hamid Khan’s 84,495 votes from the constituency. However, Rafique challenged the decision in the top court which in May 2015 suspended the decision of the tribunal.

“The operation of the impugned order is suspended till final decision by this court,” former Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said while heading a three-member bench. The interim order of the top court had reinstated Rafique as the minister.

The Supreme Court had also asked the election tribunal to submit the complete trial record and issued notices to the ECP secretary, the returning officer for NA-125 and other respondents, including the PTI candidate Hamid Khan.

The PML-N bigwig in his appeal had argued that the tribunal’s order was illegal and without lawful jurisdiction.

The appeal had contended that the tribunal’s order was based on the gross misconception of law and principles, he added.