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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) questioned the maintainability of petitions seeking disqualifications of former president Asif Ali Zardari and Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhary.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petitions of Special Assistant to the PM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar and PTI MPA from Karachi Khurram Sher Zaman, who have sought disqualification of Asif Ali Zardari, while another petition challenged the eligibility of Fawad Chaudhary alleging that he has not declared his assets.

The IHC bench directed the counsels for the petitioners to satisfy the court why it should interfere in matters related to the Parliament. The chief justice remarked why a political matter was brought before the court, while there were already a large number of pending cases of poor people before it.

The bench observed in petition against Fawad Chaudhary that why it should hear the case when the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was already probing the matter. Justice Minallah said he was not talking about the merits of the case as he has yet to study it.

He added why the court hears cases against elected representatives. He further said when the people are electing such leaders, then why the court should interfere in it. Later, the court deferred the hearing of the case till November 4 for further proceedings.

PTI leaders, Khurram Sher Zaman, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) Sindh and Usman Dar, filed two identical constitutional petitions against PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari. They contended that Zardari is neither honest nor Ameen nor righteous nor sagacious in terms of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and also Section 231 of the Election Act.

Therefore, he (Asif Zardari) is not qualified to be elected or chosen as a Member of the National Assembly (MNA). They requested the court to declare that Zardari is not qualified to be elected or chosen or to officiate as or exercise powers of the "Party Head" within the meaning of Article 63A of the Constitution.

In a petition against Fawad Chaudhary, an anchor for a private TV channel, claimed that the minister concealed his assets when declaring them to the Election Commission of Pakistan; therefore, he should be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.

"Fawad Chauhdry with mala-fide intention and ulterior motives, concealed his assets, cost of assets and provided wrong and false statement of his own and spouses' assets and their cost in FORM-B (statement of Assets and Liabilities) along with nomination papers," he alleged.

The petitioner prayed before the court to disqualify the minister under Article 62(1)(f) from holding public office as he had not disclosed documents containing his proprietary information.

It also requested the court to order lodging of a criminal case against him and withdrawal of all privileges granted to him as a minister.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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