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SC to determine disqualification time period, rules CJP

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday ruled that the Supreme Court of Pakistan was to determine the time-period of parliamentarians’ disqualification.

A larger bench headed by the chief justice heard the petitions seeking a fixed time-period of the parliamentarians’ disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution.

During the course of proceedings, Asma Jahangir counsel for Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf’s disqualified lawmaker Rai Hasan Nawaz appeared before the bench and argued that for voters, the questions of eligibility and qualification do not matter.

She 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.

She contended that the interpretation of Pakistan’s ideology is a complex task with several ambiguities, besides it is the sole responsibility of the parliament to deliberate on political matters rather than any other state institution.

To this, Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the court couldn’t resolve questions merely based on assumptions. He remarked that the question of ideology is not before the bench today.

Asma Jahangir said that nobody was declared eligible and ineligible for holding a public office before 1985.

The Chief Justice then inquired whether a dishonest person could contest by-election and for how long he or she should be declared disqualified.

Asma Jahangir responded that the disqualification sentence should vary from case to case and maximum period should be five years.

At which, the chief justice ruled that it’s the sole obligation of the top court to determine the duration of the disqualification period of a public representative.

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.

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