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Panamagate hearing: disqualification of PM under Articles 62 and 63 not possible, counsel argues

The prime minister’s counsel, resuming on Friday his arguments on the Panamagate case in the Supreme Court, maintained that the evidence presented by petitioners thus far does not fulfil the requirements for the disqualification of the prime minister.

Quoting Articles 62 and 63, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel, Makhdoom Ali Khan, said that the requirements for the conviction and disqualification of the premier have not been met.

“Substantial evidence is required for the disqualification of a Member of National Assembly,” he maintained.

The counsel was referring to a September 2015 Supreme Court ruling wherein the apex court had suspended a decision made by an election tribunal to de-seat Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Muhammad Siddique Khan Baloch.

The PML-N lawmaker had been deseated after the tribunal nullified his election on a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s central organiser Jahangir Khan Tareen, who had lost to Baloch.

The tribunal judge had disqualified Baloch for possessing bogus educational qualifications and concealing facts.

The PM’s counsel in his arguments also brought up a 2014 ruling of a seven-judge bench of the apex court, wherein, the counsel said, that judges had called Article 62 a ‘nightmare’ and ‘ambiguous’.

Makhdoom Khan was referring to proceedings on a petition submitted in the SC in 2014 by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Ishaq Khakwani calling for disqualification of the PM, wherein the plaintiff had alleged that the premier should be disqualified because he lied on the floor of the National Assembly.

In the petition, Khakwani had accused PM Nawaz Sharif of falsely stating in the lower house that he had not asked then Army chief retired Gen Raheel Sharif to behave as mediator and guarantor between the federal government on one side, and PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on the other for ending the political impasse during the 2014 dharna.

During its hearing of the petition, the apex court had observed that the Constitution is silent on the definition of ‘sadiq’ (truthful) and ‘ameen’ (righteous).

“There is no definition of sadiq and ameen in Article 260 of the Constitution — a provision that provides description and meaning of words used in the green book,” Justice Dost Mohammad Khan had observed at the time.

Makhdoom Khan argued that due to this ruling, the prime minister could not be disqualified on the basis of Articles 62 and 63.

The bench will resume hearing the case on Monday.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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