ISLAMABAD: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former MNA Jehangir Tareen of the PTI cannot ever stand for elections for the rest of their life, ruled the Supreme Court in a stunning landmark judgement on Friday morning.
They were disqualified under Article 62 of the Constitution which says that in order for a Pakistani to become a parliamentarian, they need to be “sadiq” and “ameen” or honest and righteous.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial read out the unanimous verdict issued by a five-member bench of Supreme Court regarding the period of disqualification under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution on Friday.
The judgment in civil appeal No. 233/2015 etc. was announced in courtroom 1.
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah had reserved the verdict on February 14 this year to announce it later.
On Friday, a four-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar announced the verdict on the several identical petitions to stipulate the time frame for which a lawmaker would stand disqualified if they violated Article 62 (1)(f) or were found not to be righteous and honest. Justice Faisal Arab was not present when the verdict was read out.
The Supreme Court judges remarked that public representatives should be truthful.
Appearing before the court at the last hearing on February 14, Attorney-General Ashtar Ausaf Ali had said that the constitution needs to be amended to specify the duration of disqualification. He wondered if the disqualification of lawmakers would continue even after death, as no time limit has been set in the law.
The court said that the 18th Amendment passed in 2010 did not spell out any time period for disqualification. The duration for disqualification will continue for as long as the declaration holds.
Nawaz, 67, resigned in July after the court disqualified him over an undeclared source of income. Friday’s ruling has addressed an ambiguity – whether he was barred from office for life or a specific period.
‘My review is still pending’
I always believed 62 1(f) to be for life but not applicable in my case.Full money trail provided of tax paid Income, property declared in assets of children and not mine on advice of tax consultant. This was the only issue. My review is still pending and IA justice will prevail
— Jahangir Khan Tareen (@JahangirKTareen) April 13, 2018
‘Disqualification before trial’
No corruption allegation has been proven against Nawaz Sharif to date, argued Marriyum Aurangzeb, the state minister for information and broadcasting, after the verdict was announced. “The trial has been going on in the NAB court and the disqualification verdict is already out,” she said.
According to her, the verdict was the “same joke” that has been played with all 17 prime ministers in the history of the country.
The man who trampled on the Constitution wants to appear before the court on his own terms, she said. “No suo motu action is taken [when this happens].”
‘Doors for the corrupt in Parliament are closed’
“The doors for corrupt in the Parliament have been closed after the verdict,” said Tahir-ul-Qadri. “It will prove to be an example for setting a culture of transparency in Pakistan.”
‘Malice and ego in the verdict’
“Nation makes decision against the leaders,” Captain Safar said. “There is malice and ego in the judgment of the Supreme Court.”
‘Respect the judgments’
“Disqualification judgments should be respected,” said Shah Mehmood Qureshi. “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf accepts the verdict.”
‘Nawaz, Tareen facing consequences’
I am of the belief that it’s the people of Pakistan who should make such decisions about the fate of politicians. Unfortunately it is PTI & PMLN themselves who have forced the judicialization of our politics. Naehal Nawaz & Tareen must now face the consequences of their actions.
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) April 13, 2018
“I don’t agree with this decision,” said Rana Afzal. “The judiciary gave a narrow-minded decision which will not be approved by the people”.
‘Sharif delivered as much as he could’
“Nawaz Sharif has delivered as much as he could,” said Siraj-ul-Haq. “The Supreme Court’s judgment has implications for his politics. If he did politics for personal gains then the SC order has finished it all.”
What goes around..?
This is the same Article that Zia ul Haq gave to this country when Nawaz was chief minister. Now the SC verdict has come we have to accept and there is no need to fight and squabble, said Khursheed Shah.
Story first published: 13th April 2018