An individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 cannot serve as party head, said a three-judge Supreme Court (SC) bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar in a verdict on the petitions challenging the controversial Elections Act 2017.
The CJP, while reading out the verdict in Courtroom 1, said that a person who is disqualified under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution is not eligible to sign on any document needed to nominate someone to the National Assembly or Senate.
Former Election Commission of Pakistan secretary, Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad, while speaking to DawnNews, said that the verdict will not affect the PML-N’s registration as a party. However, decisions taken by Nawaz Sharif will be nullified, including tickets issued by him for the Senate elections. He added that a new schedule will have to be announced for Senate polls.
With the judgement, it is possible that the Senate elections scheduled for March 3 will have to be postponed.
The detailed judgement is awaited.
During the course of Wednesday’s hearing, Additional Attorney General (AAG) Rana Waqar told the SC that the Constitution provides every citizen with the right to join or form a political party.
Waqar referred to Article 17 of the Constitution that concerns “freedom of association” and said that the second clause of the article specifically gives citizens the right to form or join a political party.
Justice Nisar, however, said that in Pakistan’s political setup, political parties are personality driven. Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan seconded the CJP’s statement, saying that political parties are a “one-man show”.
Rashid’s lawyer Farogh Naseem pointed out that Article 17(2) is “subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan”.
He insisted that a person who violates Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution should not be allowed to lead a political party since it is a “matter of public leadership”.
Babar Awan, the counsel for PTI, another petitioner in the case, directed the court’s attention towards the upcoming Senate elections and said that a disqualified politician was handing out tickets for Senate candidates from the PML-N.
Referring to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s speech in the Parliament on Monday, Justice Nisar said that the judiciary had never called any politician a “thief”. Instead, the CJP said that he had praised the country’s leadership and added that he does not “owe anyone an explanation”.PM Abbasi had criticized the judiciary criticized for “insulting” elected officials, during a National Assembly session on Monday.
“I was not willing to say this but it had become necessary. The elected representatives of the 207 million people are being dubbed as thief, robber and mafia. Sometimes threats are being hurled that we [judges] will nullify the legislation that you [parliamentarians] have passed,” Mr Abbasi said in his apparent reference to the hearing of the Elections Act 2017 case.
Nawaz was disqualified by an apex court in the Panama Papers case last year under Article 62 of the Constitution for failing to declare a receivable salary as an asset.
It’s a developing story and was originally published here.