Evidences insufficient to disqualify PM: Counsel

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Panamagate case

Staff Reporter

Islamabad

The prime minister’s counsel, Makhdoom Ali Khan, resuming on Friday his arguments on the Panamagate case in the Supreme Court, maintained that the evidence presented by petitioners thus far does not fulfil the requirements for the disqualification of the prime minister.
Quoting Articles 62 and 63, he said that the requirements for the conviction and disqualification of the premier have not been met.
“Substantial evidence is required for the disqualification of a Member of National Assembly,” he maintained.
The counsel was referring to a September 2015 Sup reme Court ruling wherein the apex court had suspended a decision made by an election tribunal to de-seat Pakistan Muslim League-N candidate Muhammad Siddique Khan Baloch.
The PML-N lawmaker had been deseated after the tribunal nullified his election on a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s central organiser Jahangir Khan Tareen, who had lost to Baloch.
The tribunal judge had disqualified Baloch for possessing bogus educational qualifications and concealing facts.
The PM’s counsel in his arguments also brought up a 2014 ruling of a seven-judge bench of the apex court, wherein, the counsel said, that judges had called Article 62 a ‘nightmare’ and ‘ambiguous’.
Makhdoom Khan argued that due to this ruling, the prime minister could not be disqualified on the basis of Articles 62 and 63.
Makhdoom Ali Khan stated that the top court in its 2014 judgement declared both terms, ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ as nightmare and feast of security, adding that both terms are “harvest for lawyers”.
He further contended that in order for the court to disqualify any lawmaker, there first needs to be a declaration, on the basis of which the individual can then be disqualified. “Disqualification in this situation cannot happen,” the counsel told the court.
Referring to Article 66 of the Constitution, he also questioned what would be the implication of this article, when the court would decide about the question of the PM’s speech in parliament. Article 66 of the Constitution says parliament’s proceedings cannot be challenged in any court of law. The bench will resume hearing of the case on Monday.

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