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SC Nullifies Disqualification Verdict Against Khawaja Asif

Islamabad(June 01, 2018): Three Member Bench of the Supreme Court on Friday has suspended the IHC verdict of Khawaja Asif’s Disqualification.

Khawaja Asif is now eligible to contest in upcoming elections, which are scheduled to be held on July 25.

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A three-member bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial had reserved its decision on the appeal filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz stalwart challenging his April 27 disqualification by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).The bench also comprises Justices Faisal Arab and Sajjad Ali Shah.

On May 19, PML-N leader and the former Foreign  Minister  Khawaja Asif had submitted a written reply in Supreme Court (SC) over his disqualification issue.

Khawaja Asif said in his reply that constitution or law doesn’t bar anyone to work as a member of National Assembly (NA), adding that major part of his income comes from private business.

Listing business as an occupation is not wrong, he said.The reply further stated that no transaction has been made from his bank account in Dubai. Non-declaration of closed account is not unlawful, he added.

He said that he mistakenly concealed the Dubai bank account details.On May 07, The Supreme Court accepted disqualified foreign minister Khawaja Asif’s appeal against an Islamabad High Court (IHC) decision to disqualify him for failing to declare his salary accruing from his employment in a UAE firm, however, the court had rejected his request seeking stay against IHC judgment.

A three-member special bench of the SC, headed by Justice Umar Atta Bandial, heard Asif’s appeal against his disqualification.

In his remarks bench member, Justice Umer Bandyal said that Khawaja Asif disqualification decision was based on contract employment in UAE and concealing of Iqama and bank accounts. Asif’s counsel Muneer A. Malik informed the court that the former foreign minister was disqualified on three grounds: ie, holding an Iqama, not declaring his salary in his nomination papers, and not declaring a sum of 4,700 UAE dirhams in his nomination papers.

Challenging the IHC’s decision, Malik said that there had never been a transaction in a Dubai bank account which was closed on July 7, 2015.The nomination papers for 2013 elections had only asked for three prior years of tax declarations, which was included by Asif, he argued, before adding that Asif’s tax declaration from 2012 included details of the salary he received from his Iqama job.

The counsel further said that 6.82 million dirhams in foreign earnings were also declared by Asif in his nomination papers. This sum included the proceeds from the sale of a restaurant in the UAE as well as the salary from the Iqama job.

He further pointed out that money already spent does not constitute an asset and that Asif did not have expected future earnings which could have been declared.

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On April 26, the IHC ruled that Asif is not ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’ as per the Constitution. The court stated that Asif did not mention his foreign employment in his nomination papers.

The three bench members unanimously ruled that Asif has been disqualified as per Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution.

The court announced its verdict on a petition stating that Asif did not mention his foreign employment in his nomination papers.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Athar Minallah announced the verdict and ruled that Asif is not ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’ as per the Constitution.

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