Fawad Chaudhry’s appointment as federal minister for science and technology has been challenged in the Islamabad High Court as it has been claimed that he did not disclose all of his assets while submitting the nomination form for elections in 2018.
The petitioner, journalist Sami Ibrahim, has claimed that the minister is no longer ‘sadiq and ameen’ and should be disqualified. Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution is a provision requiring elected officials to be ‘sadiq and ameen’ or honest and righteous. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and PTI leader Jahangir Tareen were disqualified under this clause.
Chaudhry has not shown the ownership of his lands in Jhelum in the nomination form, argued Ibrahim.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that political cases should be solved on political forums. The court doesn’t want to involve itself with political affairs, he added. “What sort of a person is sadiq and ameen? The example is in front of you. We disqualified Khawaja Asif and the Supreme Court overturned his conviction,” said the chief justice.
The court has issued notices to Chaudhry, the Election Commission and the law ministry in the case. Their replies have been summoned in two weeks.
Ibrahim and Chaudhry are no strangers. A huge controversy had erupted after the federal minister slapped the Bol News anchor during a wedding ceremony in Faisalabad in June. The minister told BBC Urdu that he slapped Ibrahim after he got angry. Chaudhry said that he made a new advertisement policy when he was minister for information and divided the channels into A, B, C and D categories on the basis of ratings.
Ibrahim, he said, approached him and asked him to put his channel into category A and asked for an adjustment of Rs20 million.
Chaudhry said that Ibrahim ran a campaign against him and tried to blackmail him when he [Chaudhry] declined. However, Ibrahim said that he was sitting with PTI MNA Farrukh Habib, FIA DG Bashir Memon as well as journalists Rauf Klasra and Arshad Sharif at the wedding when he heard someone using abusive language.
He claimed that Chaudhry slapped him without saying a word. The anchorperson claimed that his glasses fell to the ground with the force of the blow but he didn’t respond to Chaudhry.