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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday turned down the petitions seeking disqualification of former president Asif Ali Zardari and Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry as members of the Parliament.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah announced its reserved verdict in the petitions filed by Special Assistant to the PM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar and PTI MPA from Karachi Khurram Sher Zaman against Asif Ali Zardari, while another petition challenged the eligibility of Fawad Chaudhry alleging him for not declaring his assets.

The bench stated the petitions are dismissed because the Court is of the opinion that exercising its extraordinary discretionary jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution is not in the public interest and violative of fundamental rights of the people at large guaranteed thereunder.

Justice Minallah noted, “The political parties and citizens are expected to settle political disputes without involving the judicial branch of the State.” He added, “Disqualification of chosen representatives by the judicial branch of the State in exercise of extra ordinary discretionary constitutional powers is likely to cause miscarriage of justice, rather than advancing the cause of justice.”

In the petition against Fawad Chaudhry, the bench observed why it should hear the case when the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was already probing the matter.

Justice Minallah said that he was not talking about the merit of the case as he has yet to study it. He added why the court should hear cases against elected representatives.

He further said that when the people are electing such leaders, then why the court should interfere in it.

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 is not qualified to be elected or chosen as a Member of the National Assembly (MNA).

Similarly, the petitioner, an anchor for a private TV channel, claimed that Fawad Chaudhry has concealed his assets before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP); therefore, should be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.

Fawad Chaudhry 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, stated the petitioner.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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