Islamabad (January 31, 2018): The Supreme Court will resume hearing a case related to the determination of time-period of disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.
Yesterday, the SC adjourned the hearing of the case pertaining to Article 62 (1)(f) till Wednesday and issued a notice to deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif to appear before the court for the next hearing.
A five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, heard 13 petitions by disqualified legislators.
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The apex court heard the case that is likely to have a substantial effect on several disqualified lawmakers, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, as it sought to determine the duration of disqualification.
Though the over dozen petitioners are lawmakers disqualified for possessing fake degrees, the case has ramifications for Nawaz as well as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) senior leader Jahangir Tareen — both were unseated from Parliament on violation of Article 62(1)(f).As the hearing went under way, the bench was informed that neither Nawaz nor any counsel representing him is present in court.
“If Nawaz doesn’t want to come then that’s his choice,” the chief justice remarked, adding that an ex-parte decision, based on merit, will be made in case he doesn’t show up.
The court then issued another notice to Nawaz to appear in court tomorrow or be represented through a counsel.
Representing a petition, counsel Babar Awan argued that the bench has to refer to Parliament even if a comma has to be changed in the Constitution as the body makes or changes laws.The chief justice responded that the Parliament is beholden to the Constitution as well.
The hearing was then adjourned until later today, when Awan was to resume his arguments.
The court also declared today senior advocate Muneer A Malik and Barrister Ali Zafar as amicus curiae (friend of the court), whereby they will assist the bench in the case.
Earlier, the court had summoned both Tareen and Nawaz today, however only the PTI leader showed up in court.On his way to the apex court, Tareen said determination of the disqualification period is necessary, adding that disqualification durations over a dubious money trail and having a fake degree should be different.
The Supreme Court also issued a public notice asking anyone who will potentially be affected in the case to approach the apex court to be heard otherwise ex-parte proceedings would take place.
It added that the larger bench is determining the duration of any elected member’s disqualification according to the Constitution or relevant election laws.Article 62(1)(f) reads: “A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless-…he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law.”
On December 15, last year, the Supreme Court had disqualified Tareen for failing to declare an offshore company and a foreign property in his election nomination papers.
Similarly, then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified on July 28, 2017 for concealing in his nomination papers the receivable income from his son’s company in UAE.