*Judges say not concerned whether their ruling would render one member or half of the assembly disqualified
*Justice Khawaja says ruling will set precedent for all future elections, including LG polls
The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday said it will define the terms ‘Sadiq and Ameen’ in Article 62 and 63 for candidates contesting in all future elections.
During the hearing of prime minister’s disqualification case, the two-judge bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed that the bench would define the terms ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ without keeping in view the consequences of the decision.
The bench said that they are not concerned whether their ruling would render one member or half of the assembly disqualified.
Justice Khawaja said that their ruling will be set as a precedent for upcoming general elections and Local Government (LG) elections, as the issue of ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ is expected to be raised again in LG polls.
If the issue remains unresolved and the apex court fails to set the standard of ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’, then an opponent of every contesting candidate could raise allegations of being a ‘liar’ against them and it would be difficult to find a person who truly fulfils the requirement of both these terms.
On the other hand, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt told the bench that interpreting ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ has already been sub-judicated before a larger bench.
Referring to the Article 66 of the Constitution, which states that the parliament’s proceedings cannot be challenged in any court of law, the AGP said the court should examine whether the high court has the jurisdiction to question the proceeding of parliament in the presence of Article 66 of the constitution.
The bench, however, told him that the petitioner’s stance is that whether Article 62 and 63 overrule Article 66.
Justice Khawaja further observed that the court has the authority to adjudicate on ‘political questions’ but it shows restraint in giving rulings on political issues. He also told the AGP that it should be examined which forum will decide the disqualification issue after the passage of 18th amendment.
The court further sought a concise statement from Butt within a week over the maintainability of the petitions seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in view of Article 62(f) of the Constitution.
The court has also directed all three petitioners, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujat Hussain, Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf’s Ishaq Khan Khakwani and Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF) Punjab Senior Vice President Gohar Nawaz Sindhu to give written statements whether they have filed the petition for PM’s disqualification in their individual capacity or are they merely representing their respective parties in the petitions.
The petitioners have claimed that the premier had first asked the army chief, General Raheel Sharif to act as a ‘mediator’ between the government and the protesting parties PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), and to serve as a ‘guarantor’ to any agreement between the parties concerned.
They alleged that the premier later lied on the floor of the Parliament and denied making any such request.
Justice Khawaja’s recusal:
Meanwhile, commenting over Khakwani’s plea which seeks Justice Khawaja’s recusal from the PM disqualification case, Justice Khawaja said that some people believe that he is unfit to hear the case. While on the other hand, some people are expressing their full confidence in same case, he added.
Justice Khawaja made it clear that the judges themselves would decide that whether they are ‘fit’ to hear the case or not.