Political parties cannot be disqualified over a fake certificate, SC tells PML-N lawyer
ISLAMABAD (NNI): During the hearing of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) foreign funding case on Tuesday, the chief justice of Pakistan said that there is no law that states that a political party can be disqualified on the basis of a fake certificate.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, was hearing a petition submitted by PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi seeking the disqualification of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen for the non-disclosure of assets, ownership of offshore companies, and for PTI being a foreign-aided party.
Chief Justice Nisar added that neither the Representation of People Act, nor the Political Parties Act mentions that a party must be disqualified for submitting a fake certificate. He was responding to arguments made by Abbasi’s lawyer, Akram Sheikh.
Sheikh accused PTI of receiving funds exceeding one million dollars from PTI USA, which is against USA’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). However, the chief justice maintained that American law is not applicable in Pakistan.
Sheikh argued that since the PTI has not disclosed the name of its donors, the party must be disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. “An MNA can be disqualified even for failing to declare his (or her) assets,” said Sheikh, bringing up the recent disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.
“It’s written in the law that a person will be disqualified for not declaring his assets,” remarked Chief Justice Nisar, adding that the judges would not comment any further on the Panamagate verdict.
Sheikh’s claim that PTI received “billions of dollars” as foreign forbidden funds prompted the judges to ask how anyone could determine which funds are illegal.
The lawyer’s argument that the PTI chairman’s charity projects were also funded by foreign sources was dismissed by the judges, who said “the law does not forbid receiving foreign funds for charity purposes.”
The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow (Wednesday).