PML-N Terms Lifetime Political Ban Against Sharif a ‘conspiracy’

Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam: The supreme court, in a historical verdict, on Friday ruled that disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution is for life, barring Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen from holding public office ever.The Supreme Court (SC), in a verdict, on Friday ruled that disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution is for life.

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, the then prime minister Nawaz was disqualified by the Supreme Court on July 28, 2017, for concealing in his nomination papers the receivable income from his son’s company in UAE.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who was heading the five-member bench, remarked before the verdict was announced that the public deserves “leaders of good character”.

Other members of the bench were Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.

Justice Umar Ata Bandiyal read out the verdict, which seals the political fate of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen and other lawmakers disqualified under the said article.

The verdict stated that the disqualification of any member of parliament or a public servant under Article 62 (1)(f) in the future will be permanent. Such a person cannot contest elections or become a member of parliament.

The court has ruled that the disqualification will hold until the court declaration disqualifying the lawmaker stands.

Moreover, the judges unanimously ruled that the Constitution states that those not ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’ as per law are banned from Parliament for life.

In judgment Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed has also written an additional note in the judgment.

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 February 14, the apex court had reserved its decision in the case while hearing several petitions seeking to determine the time-period a lawmaker would remain disqualified for after being de-seated in violation of Article 62(1)(f) and other election laws.

During the hearing, the court had observed that the disqualification will continue for as long as the declaration [signed by electoral candidates declaring them honest] holds, adding that the 18th Amendment, passed in 2010, did not determine a time period for disqualification.

At an earlier hearing on February 8, the chief justice had also acknowledged the ambiguity of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.

lifetime disqualification ‘not applicable’ in my case

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen has said that the Supreme Court’s ruling on lifetime disqualification is “not applicable” in his case.

“I always believed 62 1(f) to be for life but not applicable in my case,” Tareen tweeted. “Full money trail provided of tax paid income, property declared in assets of children and not mine on advice of tax consultant. This was the only issue. My review is still pending and IA justice will prevail”,he added.

Case History:

On February 14, the apex court had reserved its decision in the case to determine the time-period that elected lawmakers will remain disqualified for.

A five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, had reserved the verdict while hearing several petitions to determine the time-period a lawmaker would remain disqualified for after being de-seated in violation of Article 62(1)(f) and other election laws.

During the hearing, the court had observed that the disqualification will continue for as long as the declaration [signed by electoral candidates declaring them honest] holds, adding that the 18th Amendment, passed in 2010, did not determine a time period for disqualification.

At an earlier hearing on February 8, the chief justice had also acknowledged the ambiguity of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.
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.”

 

Following his disqualification as the prime minister last year, Nawaz was also removed as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) head in February after the SC struck off a controversial amendment to the Elections Act, 2017 which had paved the way for Nawaz Sharif to resume leadership of the party. Nawaz now holds the title of PML-N’s ‘Quaid (leader) for life’.

 ” Conspiracy by ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves “

After theannouncment of verdict by Supreme Court that any lawmaker disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f) would be ineligible to hold public office for life, State Minister for Information Maryam Aurangzeb termed the verdict a “joke that has already been played on previous prime ministers”.

“As long as Nawaz Sharif lives in the hearts of the people, this disqualification will hold no meaning,” said Aurangzeb. “Pakistan’s civil society, public and media is now awake and everyone can see what is happening [in the country], and the reasons behind it. The slogan of ‘minus-one’ is being raised once again.”

“This is the same [kind of] decision that led to the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and [then] to the disqualification of an elected prime minister [Nawaz],” claimed Aurangzeb.

Marriyum stated that time and again, democratically elected leaders of Pakistan are unceremoniously removed from their post. “All 17 prime ministers of Pakistan have faced a similar fate.”

“This decision is the result of a conspiracy by ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’,” she added.

Marriyum Aurangzeb further said decisions against Nawaz are made first and trials are conducted later.

“Today’s decision is the same as Nawaz’s trial court case,” she added maintaining that a decision has been made on a trial which is still underway.

Claiming that not a “single rupee’s corruption has been proven against the former premier”, the information minister said, “The case on which Nawaz has been disqualified for life is still underway as is the case which disqualified him from his premiership.”

“The NAB court trial is incomplete and Wajid Zia has also said there is no documental evidence to show that Nawaz took money from his son’s company,” she said.

“Nawaz was first disqualified as prime minister, then removed as head of PML-N, his party was barred from participating in Senate elections and now they have ruled against him from holding a public office for life,” the minister said.

Reiterating that the PML-N quaid is still facing trials, Marriyum said, “The premier was elected through the votes of the people and the decision regarding his disqualification also lies with the people.”

She further said, “We all respect Pakistan’s constitutional institutions and respecting the Supreme Court is necessary for us all.”

PPP wanted to ammend Articles 62/63: Nafisa Shah
PPP Spokesperson Dr Nafisa Shah has said that the SC judgement on Mian Nawaz Sharif and Jehangir Tareen disqualification should be accepted.
PPP has always stood up for parliamentary democracy, and constitutional rule. We gave Mian Nawaz Sharif opportunity to make himself accountable before the parliament on Panama scandal. He preferred to take the matter to court.
PPP also wanted to amend Articles 62 and 63 when drafting 18th amendment. PMLN wanted to hang on to this Zia vestige.
Today, both PTI and PMLN which preferred to fight their battle in the courts have been caught in their own games. Both PTI and PMLN have weakened the parliament. The courts have taken the space of the parliament because both these parties dragged the courts into political issues.

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