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Khawaja Asif disqualified as a member of parliament

26 April, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Three-member special bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday disqualified Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif as a member of the parliament. The bench, comprising Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, had reserved the verdict on April 10.
PTI leader and petitioner Usman Dar (in black) is seen at the court.

A packed courtroom in the IHC was awaiting the announcement of the verdict.

Petitioner Usman Dar of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), who lost elections to Asif in 2013, filed the petition last year, seeking the disqualification of Asif for holding a UAE iqama (visa).

The petition said that Asif was entitled to draw a salary which was his receivable asset; however, since he did not declare it in the nomination paper while contesting the 2013 general elections from NA-110, he is not eligible to hold the National Assembly seat.

The petition pointed out that the iqama of Asif was renewed on June 29, 2017 and was valid till June 28, 2019, which established that in spite of being a federal minister, Asif “intends to surreptitiously and secretly continue with his full-time employment with IMECL in violation of his oath of office under the Constitution”.

In his reply, Asif contended before the court that the petitioner had concealed from the court that the issue related to iqama had not only been adjudicated by the Election Tribunal but the Supreme Court decided this case in his (Asif) favour.

It said that the petitioner has relied upon all those documents which Asif had already submitted to the returning officer at the time of filing of nomination papers in 2013. It further said that the petitioner had approached the high court by concealing material facts and his conduct and motive are based on mala fides.

According to his reply, till the tax year 2011-2012, Asif received AED50,000 and declared it as foreign income in the nomination papers.

Last year, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as the prime minister in the Panama Papers case after a five-member SC bench concluded that he had been 'dishonest' by not declaring his receivable salary as the chairman of the board of Capital FZE in his nomination papers for the 2013 election.

Leading up to the verdict, Sharif's counsel — Khawaja Harris — had conceded before the court that Hassan Nawaz, the prime minister's younger son, was the owner of Capital FZE and Sharif its chairman.

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