- Court rules petition was filed during the term of the previous National Assembly, which has now completed its tenure
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday dismissed a petition seeking Prime Minister Imran Khan’s disqualification for not being sadiq (truthful) and ameen (righteous) and on various grounds.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard the petition that was filed by Barrister Daniyal Chaudhry last year.
The petitioner alleged that the premier had not disclosed details of his daughter Tyrian White in his 2013 nomination papers. Filed in 2017, the petition was fixed for hearing on September 24.
The court ruled that the petition seeking Khan’s disqualification as an MNA was filed during the term of the previous National Assembly, which has now completed its tenure.
During the hearing, Justice Ahsan remarked, “This petition is now ineffective.”
However, Barrister Chaudhry’s counsel stated, “One issue stated in the petition is still effective and we will take it up with the high court.”
To this, Justice Ahsan said, “No one has stopped you from approaching the high court.”
Barrister Chaudhry then withdrew his petition seeking the premier’s disqualification.
In his petition, Chaudhry upheld that PM Imran is not eligible to be a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) under Articles 62 and 63.
The petition was filed in May last year soon after the apex court had constituted a six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe allegations of corruption against then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and had been pending before the court since then.
The petitioner was seeking a special oath for the JIT members to protect them from getting influenced by the speeches PTI chief Imran Khan.
The petition filed through Advocate Quasain Faisal Mufti had requested the apex court to restrain Khan from activities which could influence the minds of the JIT members because his speeches and press releases could prejudice the investigation team. It also feared that if Khan was not stopped from making political statements, it might allegedly result in derailment of democracy — a process running successfully and smoothly for a decade.
The petition had also requested the SC to order the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) not to allow broadcast by the electronic media of any material which jeopardised the sovereignty, integrity and solidarity of Pakistan and well-being and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.
The petitioner was of the opinion that people could not afford any turmoil or turbulence at this juncture when the country and its people were trying to bridge the trust and peace deficit, which over the years developed due to unbridled waves of terrorism that had lessened after remarkable efforts by the country’s armed forces, but not yet completely overcome.
It recalled that due to the PTI’s 2014 sit-in in Islamabad, the Chinese president had deferred his visit to Pakistan, resulting in jeopardising different projects pertaining to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor because of political uncertainty that negatively impacted the country’s financial markets. The foreign exchange reserves had also declined considerably as a result, it argued.
The petition alleged that Khan was making speeches to undermine the Panama Papers case judgement and further influence the expected outcome of the JIT investigation. In some of his statements, it said, Khan was making allegations against different institutions including but not limited to those who were bestowed upon with the responsibility to investigate the allegations as ordered by the SC.
The petition alleged that the conduct of Khan amounted to destabilising the government and hampered the functioning of the federal government by weakening its writ and thus destabilising the confidence of the government in making decisions in respect of national and international affairs.
Besides other things, the petition had sought disqualification of Khan for not disclosing his alleged loved child Tyrian White in his nomination papers for the general elections.
Petitions have also been filed in the past in the top court and Islamabad High Court seeking the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman’s disqualification.
On December 15, 2017, the apex court found Imran to be ‘honest’ but disqualified PTI general secretary Jahangir Tareen. Neither the PTI nor the prosecuting Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz welcomed the judgment.
The three-judge bench, headed by the CJP and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab, announced two verdicts on constitutional petitions filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi seeking the disqualification of Imran and Tareen on various grounds.