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12:03 pm - Tuesday November 21, 2017

Law allowing Nawaz to head his party challenged

Agencies, Islamabad

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has challenged bef­ore the Lahore High Court a provision of the Elections Act, 2017, that paved the way for ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to become chief of his Pakistan Muslim League-N party despite his disqualification in the Panama Papers case.

“The disqualification recorded by a court of law under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot be overtaken by sub-constitutional law,” SCBA secretary Aftab Ahmad Bajwa has argued in his petition filed through Advocate Azhar Siddique and also questioned the election of Mr Sharif as president of the PML-N for being unconstitutional, the Dawn reported on Sunday.

He said if a person cannot become a parliamentarian due to the operation of constitutional law, he surely cannot become head or office-bearer of a political party. Mr Bajwa argued it is a settled principle of law “what cannot be done directly, cannot be done indirectly”.

He stated that the election of Mr Sharif as president of the PML-N was a complete mockery of justice and fair play and against all canons of law. He submitted that Parliament lacked unlimited and unfettered powers through a ruling party to bypass the doctrine of basic structure and other constitutional interpretations.

He argued that all the laws relating to elections would be articulated through a single legislation. The SCBA secretary pleaded that a provision in a democratic form of government cannot lay down unlimited rights in view of Article 17, whereby it was clearly mentioned that every person has a right to form a political party subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law, such right cannot be already granted taken away by repealing Political Parties Order, 2002.

He says no provision can be made with aim and object to favour the one political party and all the opposition parties have shown their reservations regarding deletion of the conditions of disqualification and such legislation can’t be made operative through any procedure of law.

The lawyer also challenges Section 232 of the impugned Act, which provides that a disqualification shall not exceed more than five years. The petitioner asked the court to declare that Nawaz Sharif having been disqualified by the Supreme Court under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution cannot be elected as the party head or office-bearer of the PML-N.

Posted in: World

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