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SCBA challenged before LHC Elections Act, 2017

29 October, 2017

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LAHORE: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has challenged before the Lahore High Court a provision of the Elections Act, 2017, that paved the way for ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to become chief of his Pakistan Muslim League party despite his disqualification in the Panama Papers case.

“The disqualification recorded by a court of law under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot be overtaken by sub-constitutional law,” SCBA secretary Aftab Ahmad Bajwa argues in his petition filed through Advocate Azhar Siddique and also questions the election of Mr Sharif as president of the PML-N for being unconstitutional.

He says if a person cannot become a parliamentarian due to the operation of constitutional law, he surely cannot become head or office-bearer of a political party.

Mr Bajwa argues that it is a settled principle of law “what cannot be done directly, cannot be done indirectly”. He states that the election of Mr Sharif as president of the PML-N is a complete mockery of justice and fair play and against all canons of law.

He submits that parliament lacks unlimited and unfettered powers through a ruling party to bypass the doctrine of basic structure and other constitutional interpretations. He argues that all the laws relating to elections cannot be articulated through a single legislation.

The SCBA secretary pleads that a provision in a democratic form of government cannot lay down unlimited rights in view of Article 17, whereby it was clearly mentioned that every person has a right to form a political party subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law, such right cannot be already granted taken away by repealing Political Parties Order, 2002.

He says no provision can be made with aim and object to favour the one political party and all the opposition parties have shown their reservations regarding deletion of the conditions of disqualification and such legislation can’t be made operative through any procedure of law.

The lawyer also challenges Section 232 of the impugned Act, which provides that a disqualification shall not exceed more than five years.

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