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SC fixed Jan 23 to hear 15 petitions against Elections Act, 2017

22 January, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has fixed Jan 23 (Tuesday) to hear 15 almost identical petitions against the Elections Act, 2017, which paved the way for ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to be re-elected as head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The petitions have been fixed before a three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan. Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali will appear for the federal government.

Earlier on Jan 1, the court while declaring the petitions as maintainable and accepting them for regular hearing, had issued notices to all the respondents including ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The court had observed that the petitions were political in nature, however it would decide them in accordance with the law and the constitution. It was also observed that the Election Act, 2017 was passed by the parliament, which was the supreme body of lawmaking in the country. However, the court will strictly proceed into the pleas according to the law and the constitution.

The court had also recalled that it had held in the disqualification case of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) former secretary general Jahangir Tareen that the parliament was supreme and the court could not overstep its jurisdiction.

The counsels for the petitioners had argued that the court had the jurisdiction and ultimate powers to declare null and void any legislation which violated the constitution, adding that it was the fundamental right of the citizens to be governed by an honest person.

They had argued that it was a pre-requisite under articles 62 and 63 of the constitution that the head of a political party must be ‘sadiq and ameen’ (truthful and trustworthy). It was submitted that Article 63 of the constitution empowers the head of a political party to give tickets to its party members to contest the elections for the assembly seats, adding that when a party head gives tickets to his party members, he controls his party members in the parliament as well.

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