SC says Parliament has prerogative of legislating the laws, but it cannot make invalid laws
PML-N’s counsel says conviction in an offence cannot strip individuals of other rights
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday stated that “if a disqualified person can become a party head then he will make parliamentarian do things that he can’t do himself “and prayed to God that “don’t let it happen”.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, resumed the hearing of a case challenging Elections Act, 2017 that paved way for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to head the ruling party despite his disqualification under Article 62 (I)(f).
The SC had disqualified Nawaz in July 2017 for violating the Article 62 that pertain to being ‘sadiq and ameen’.
CJP Nisar said that he will not accept a ‘crook’ heading a political party and ruling the country and prayed to the Almighty to not let that happen.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) counsel Salam Akram Raja fighting the case on Nawaz’s behalf argued that a convict can only be punished for the offence he has committed but he does not get stripped of his other rights.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that “a corrupt party leader corrupts the entire structure of the party”, as he questioned the disqualified person’s moral authority to issue the Senate tickets, in an apparent reference to Nawaz Sharif.
Arguing the party head’s right to issue Senate tickets despite disqualification, he said the issuance of Senate tickets by a disqualified individual does not corrupt the entire party, and added that the article only bars an individiual from being an MP, and has nothing against a disqualified individual heading the party.
CJP Nisar said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi considered deposed PM Nawaz Sharif as his premier. “We are observing what value party head possesses,” he added.
Addressing the PML-N counsel, the bench pointed out lacunas in the act, saying: “Qualified people are being controlled by a disqualified person.”
Advocate Raja said the entire parliament must have taken notice of that. On which, the CJP said: “We are also taking notice … parliament has the prerogative of legislating the laws, however, these laws must not be invalid.”