SC to determine disqualification time period of parliamentarians: CJP Saqib Nisar

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday ruled that the Supreme Court of Pakistan is to determine the time-period of parliamentarians’ disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution.
A five-judge larger bench, headed by the CJP, heard the petitions seeking a fix time-period of the parliamentarians’ disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution.
During the court proceedings today, PTI’s disqualified MNA Rai Hassan Nawaz’s counsel Asma Jahangir presented her arguments and asserted that the Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution is ambiguous as it is difficult to determine the honesty and trustworthiness of an individual.
She said the aforementioned article also does not state as which court is to issue declaration with regard to a person’s conduct and eligibility.
“The voters do not bring the questions of eligibility and qualification before casting their votes to an individual,” she asserted.
Jahangir contended that the interpretation of ‘Pakistan’s ideology’ is a complex task with several ambiguities, besides it is the sole responsibility of parliament to deliberate on political matters rather than any other state institution.
To which, Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the court couldn’t resolve questions merely based on assumptions.
Following his remarks, Jahangir asserted that fundamental rights to citizens are prime organs of the constitution. She then claimed that the parliament is not a free and independent body, the CJP disagreed and remarked that the notion is incorrect.
The CJP conceded the existence of ambiguities in Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution. “It will be a difficult task to interpret the article,” he remarked.
On which, Justice Ijazul Ahsan suggested that the standards of ‘ideal persons’ [lawmakers] should be raised, while Justice Sajjad Ali proposed different set of standards for the lawmakers and an ordinary person.
The petitioner’s counsel then argued that nobody was declared eligible and ineligible for holding a public office before 1985. “Such ‘high-standard’ persons are unavailable in the country,” she responded.
The Chief Justice then enquired whether a dishonest person could contest by-election and for how long he or she should be declared disqualified.
Jahangir responded that the disqualification sentence should be varied case to case and maximum period should be five years.
At which, the CJP ruled that it’s the sole obligation of the top court to determine the duration of disqualification period.
The hearing was then adjourned until Monday.
The bench summoned the attorney general at next hearing to present his arguments as it will not hear the petitioners’ counsel anymore.
The matter has attained immense significance against the backdrop of the disqualifications of the thrice-elected premier and the central PTI leader because its outcome will decide their political fate.
It will also put the controversy surrounding the period for disqualification of a member of parliament to rest once and for all.
Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen were disqualified under the Article 62(1)(f) for lifetime for being dishonest.
On July 28, last year, the apex court disqualified Sharif from office on the grounds he did not disclose a salary from his son’s Dubai-based company – the money Sharif says he never received.
On December 15, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, a three-judge bench disqualified PTI leader Tareen under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution for deliberately submitting a false statement in the Supreme Court to conceal his property in the United Kingdom.

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