Disqualified person cannot head party, rules SC

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NAWAZ

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday ruled that a person disqualified under the Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot head a party, making ousted premier Nawaz Sharif ineligible to head Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

It was elaborated by the apex court that under Article 62, 63 of the Constitution, a disqualified person is not permitted to head a party. Additionally, the verdict entails that all decisions that were taken by Nawaz as PML-N’s president stand null and void.

Earlier on Thursday, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar concluded the hearing of several petitions against the recently-passed Elections Act 2017.

Several cases challenging specific clauses of the act that paved the way for Nawaz to take up the position of a party head were being heard by a three-member bench following his dismissal as prime minister last year.

During today’s hearing, the chief justice remarked that the country’s leadership is respectable, adding that the media misreported the court’s remarks.

Chief Justice Nisar also observed that there is no reason for the apex court to use words like thief, adding that the fallout of the issue is unacceptable.

Addressing the Pakistan Peoples Party counsel Latif Khosa during the hearing, the chief justice remarked that there would be a difference in rallies held by you or [slain party leader and former prime minister] Benazir Bhutto.

Earlier in the day, the top court reserved its judgement on the Election Act 2017 which was the key to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif gaining the position of party head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) prior to his disqualification.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) announced that they will reassemble at 4:30 pm to confirm whether the short order shall be issued today on February 21 or later.

The Elections Reforms Act 2017, which had been instrumental in paving the way for the ousted PM to become party head even after his disqualification from holding political office under Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution, owing to corruption charges, was challenged by mainstream political parties including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

On January 1, the apex court declared the petitions challenging the act, maintainable. The bench was evaluating the consequences of the anti-judiciary remarks passed by the disposed premier.

During the case’s hearing, the bench has consistently been of the view that in the light of Article 5 of the Constitution, abusing the judiciary is being disloyal to the state. The judges are also considering whether the person ridiculing the judiciary can assume the position of a party head.

“We have to draw the lines so that a looter could not become party head.  God forbid if a crook becomes a party head,” the CJP had opined on February 15.

Meanwhile, PML-N’s counsel Salman Akram Raja was of the view that the people of Pakistan know better about is eligible for the position.

Justice Ahsan stated that a party head has a direct connection with parliamentary members and if a disqualified person heads a party then that simply means that the said disqualified person can control lawmakers.

“If the party head is polluted then whole scheme is polluted,” he stated

Tfd

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