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ISLAMABAD: The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) urged the Supreme Court to overrule the SC’s judgment on Samiullah Baloch, which prescribed a lifelong ban for the lawmakers disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution.

A seven-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, and comprising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Mussarat Hilali, on Friday, after hearing the arguments of petitioners, AGP Mansoor Usman Awan and the advocates general of all the provinces, reserved the judgment.

The proceeding was broadcast live on the Supreme Court’s website.

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At the end, the chief justice said soon they will announce the order, but it would not be possible today (Friday).

Before the conclusion of the case, Advocate Shoaib Shaheen, focal person of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), appeared before the bench and said that he would like to make some submissions regarding the matter.

The chief justice told him that they were waiting for political parties to appear before the bench, despite the fact public notice was issued in the newspapers. Justice Faez asked Shaheen, “It’s good that you have appeared before us.”

Shaheen contended that the Parliament through amendments in Section 232 of the Election Act has tried to nullify the constitutional provision Article 62(1)(f). The chief justice asked his opinion about relief given by the apex court to PTI member, Faisal Vawda, though the SC judgment of five-member bench in Samiullah case was in the field.

The attorney general while arguing the case, referred to the Supreme Court judgment by a seven-member bench in Ishaq Khan Khakwani case. He said the judgment raised questions i.e. what would be the court of law. However, the Samiullah judgment, by a five-judge bench, did not provide its answer.

The chief justice noted that the Ishaq Khakwani judgment has the reference of Samiullah case. However, the attorney general said it is not discussed, adding Justice Jawad S Khawaja in its note had written that the matter needed to be seen in the relevant case, but it was not taken up later on.

Justice Faez said: “No one ever said this matter is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Shariat Court. Jurisdiction over Islamic matters belongs to the Shariat Court.” The attorney general said that the decision of lifelong disqualification in the Samiullah Baloch case is not correct.

The AGP said; “the Supreme Court interpreted the constitution in a way which amounts to “read in”, adding the Parliament by legislation has not tinkered with the constitution, but only has given the guidelines that disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) is for five years.

The chief justice said; “Why are we overlooking constitutional history and fundamental rights? Will entering specific new clauses take away the remaining rights? If one person (military dictator) added a clause to Article 62, are we all bound by it?” Justice Faez questioned whether such a test exists for politicians in any other country. Does any country in the world have such a challenging test before elections?

Makhdoom Ali Khan, who represented Jehangir Tareen, said there is no such test for politicians in any other country. Upon that, the chief justice said, “Are our politicians different from the politicians of the whole world? Give personal information in nomination papers and become eligible for election.”

Justice Jamal said “if a person is punished for fraud, can he contest elections after the punishment?” Makhdoom replied that one can participate in the elections after serving the sentence for fraud.

Justice Jamal said people should decide who is “Sadiq” and “Amin”. Justice Mussarat said, “Can the entire constituency suffer by the mistake of one person? Why was the whole constituency deprived of their representative because of a particular case made against him?” She further questioned that if the court declares someone dishonest but the society considers him honest, what will happen to the decision?

Justice Mazhar said, “Can the court declare Section 232 of the Election Act, null and void?” Makhdoom responded that Section 232 has not been challenged before the court, therefore, it cannot annul it. “The court should limit itself only to the decision of Samiullah Baloch. To uphold or to strike down Section 232 it is necessary that someone challenge it.” The chief justice said, therefore, they are not closing this door.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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