CJP wonders why political parties retained Article 62 after 18th Amendment

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  • Chief Justice Nisar says to seek forgiveness, one has to accept dishonesty first

 

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday said that there is a proper method to ask for forgiveness and that one has to first accept their dishonesty in order to be forgiven, while wondering why all the political parties decided to keep Article 62(1)(f) intact when the 18th Amendment was made to the constitution.

The case ─ focused on ascertaining the period of disqualification of a member of parliament under the constitutional article ─ is being heard by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.

The case is expected to have a substantial effect on disqualified politicians, including Nawaz and former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) secretary general Jahangir Tareen.

During the hearing, the court summoned Kamran Murtaza, the lawyer for Mir Abdul Ghafoor Lehri — a former lawmaker who was disqualified by the SC in 2013 after failing to produce his BA degree before the court — to present arguments. But Murtaza informed the bench that he was disturbed over the sentence handed out to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Nehal Hashmi by the SC in a contempt of court case.

Murtaza informed the court of Hashmi’s punishment, disqualification and inability to hold public office for five years, and one month in prison. To this, CJP Mian Saqib Nisar replied that Hashmi had been accurately been punished as per the law.

Hashmi was disqualified for five years, fined Rs50,000 and sentenced to one month in prison on Thursday.

Presenting his arguments, Murtaza said that Article 62 and Article 63 should be jointly analysed. As per Article 62 (1)(f), the disqualification will be for a certain period of time and the disqualified person can contest next by-election. Declaration for the nomination documents will be character based. To this, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said that dishonesty will be recorded in the declaration. And that the entire conundrum at hand is to discuss how long the declaration will be. A dishonest person cannot be termed ‘honest’ after five days.

“We have to see what the time limit on the declaration is,” the chief justice said while referring to the declaration of honesty that anyone who wishes to contest the election signs.

“Until the declaration (of honesty) remains, the individual’s dishonesty will stand,” Justice Saeed said, to which the chief justice replied that the bench is supposed to determine the time period of how long the declaration will last.

During his argument, the lawyer also pointed out that the concept of forgiveness also exists within the law.

“My client has asked for forgiveness,” Murtaza said, to which the chief justice responded by saying that anyone who seeks forgiveness should appear before the court.

“In disqualification cases, forgiveness is sought through curse words,” Justice Saeed remarked in reply to the lawyer’s argument. “How can there be forgiveness if abuses are being hurled publicly?”

“There is a method of seeking forgiveness as well. First, one must accept his or her mistake. They have to accept their dishonesty before the public,” Justice Nisar pointed out while adding that there are some people out there who say they did nothing wrong and that injustice was done to them.

He added: “I am not speaking about anyone, specifically. I am commenting on your (Mustafa’s) statements about forgiveness.”

‘POLITICAL PARTIES DECIDED TO KEEP ARTICLE 62(1)(f) INTACT’:

During the hearing, the chief justice pointed out that all political parties decided to keep Article 62(1)(f) intact when the 18th Amendment was made to the constitution.

To this, Murtaza replied: “The parliament did not make any changes because of the fear of religious elements.”

“You mean the parliament got scared? The parliament is supreme,” the chief justice remarked. “We saw what happened in the Faizabad protest,” the lawyer said in response.

The hearing was later adjourned till February 8.

PREVIOUS HEARING:

During Wednesday’s hearing, the top court gave a week’s time to deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel to present his arguments, as a lawyer told the bench that the right to contest in elections is a fundamental right and lifelong disqualification infringes upon those rights.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the court had summoned both Nawaz and Tareen, however, only the PTI leader showed up in court.

During the hearing, neither Nawaz nor any counsel representing him had appeared before the bench.

“If Nawaz doesn’t want to come then that’s his choice,” CJP Nisar had remarked, adding that an ex-parte decision will be made in case he doesn’t show up.

“A one-sided ruling is also based on merit,” he had remarked.

The court then issued another notice to Nawaz to appear in court on Wednesday or be represented through a counsel. Later on Tuesday evening, Nawaz Sharif had decided that Advocate Azam Tarrar will represent him in court in Wednesday’s hearing.

The court had also declared senior advocates Muneer A Malik and Barrister Ali Zafar as amicus curiae (friends of the court), whereby they will assist the bench in the case.

The SC had also issued a public notice asking anyone who will potentially be affected in the case to approach the apex court to be heard otherwise ex-parte proceedings would take place.

It added that the larger bench is determining the duration of any elected member’s disqualification according to the constitution or relevant election laws.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. How do one expect the Supreme Court to fix the upcoming elections.
    The voting citizens have no faith in the Supreme Court. They wil be watching how the Supreme Court fixes the future elections, even before the election?
    Dirty political work being done by the Court!

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