Elec­tions Act 2017 aim to re­duce ef­fect of dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion: CJP

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE - IS­LAM­ABAD

De­lib­er­at­ing the Elec­tions Act 2017, which paved the way for disqualified prime min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif to re­gain pres­i­dency of the PML- N, the Supreme Court on Tues­day asked how hav­ing a party chief who is not el­i­gi­ble to con­test elec­tions is in con­tra­dic­tion with the con­sti­tu­tion.

Bar­ris­ter Farogh Naseem, rep­re­sent­ing op­po­si­tion MNA Sheikh Rashid, told the court that the law was brought only 17 days af­ter Sharif's dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion by the Supreme Court in Pana­m­a­gate case.

Chief Jus­tice Mian Saqib Nisar - head­ing the three­mem­ber bench hear­ing the case - re­marked that the pur­pose of the leg­is­la­tion was to re­duce to the ef­fect of dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

The court asked Naseem to ex­plain how the act was in con­tra­dic­tion with the Con­sti­tu­tion. The coun­sel replied that ac­cord­ing to Ar­ti­cle 63- A of the Con­sti­tu­tion, im­por­tant pow­ers were vested in the of­fice of party chief, in­clud­ing dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of a leg­is­la­tor be­long­ing to their party. The party chief can also in­flu­ence leg­is­la­tion and elec­tion of prime min­is­ter, Naseem ar­gued. He said that the act would al­low some­one de­clared un­truth­ful and

un­trust­wor­thy by the courts to in­flu­ence par­lia­men­tary busi­ness.

"Ac­cord­ing to you, party chief has a lot of pow­ers," Jus­tice Nisar re­marked. Jus­tice Ijazul Ah­san said that ac­cord­ing to the coun­sel, the party chief would be a king­maker of sorts and an un­trust­wor­thy and un­truth­ful per­son will con­trol Sadiq (truth­ful)

and Ameen (trust­wor­thy) leg­is­la­tors. Naseem ar­gued that it is the peo­ple's fun­da­men­tal right to be rep­re­sented by hon­est peo­ple. He said that Nawaz Sharif was un­able to pro­vide a money trail in Panama Pa­pers case but was cut short by the CJP who said that the mat­ter has been de­cided and should not be dis­cussed fur­ther.

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