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SC granted time to Nawaz Sharif counsel

01 February, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted time to Azam Tarar, counsel for ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to prepare arguments over determining the disqualification time period of parliamentarians under Article 62(1) (f) of the constitution.

A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, which is hearing a set of pleas of several parliamentarians who were disqualified on fake degrees, directed the counsel for Nawaz Sharif to prepare his arguments for next week.

The court has to interpret Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution to determine the period of disqualification for the disqualified lawmakers. When the court resumed the hearing, Azam Tarar requested the court to grant him some time to prepare the arguments, which the court accepted and asked him to come up next week.

In his arguments, counsel for one of the petitioners, Waseem Sajjad, argued that the duration of disqualification should be five years.

He said the present form of Article 62 was confusing, thus there was a need to resolve the controversy around it. He said Article 62 (1)(f) does not mention punishment, which is mentioned in Article 63 of the constitution. He said according to Article 62, the duration of disqualification would be five year.

Tariq Mehmood, counsel for Samina Khawar Hayat, who was disqualified in a fake degree case in 2013, argued that articles 62 sand 63 of the constitution should be read together while determining the period of disqualification.

He said that if articles 62 and 63 were read together, the time period of disqualification would stand at five years. He recalled that the court had disqualified Pervez Musharraf for life in 2013, adding that lifelong disqualification was a violation of human rights.

Senior advocate Muneer A Malik, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, argued that the right to contest elections was a fundamental right, thus articles 62 and 63 should be read together.

The chief justice inquired whether a disqualified parliamentarian could contest a by-election or the general election, adding if someone declared dishonest three months before the polls could contest the election.

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