IHC rejects petitions for Fawad, Zardari’s disqualification

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The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday rejected petitions seeking to disqualify former president and PPP co-chair Asif Ali Zardari and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry as members of the National Assembly. Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued a brief judgment, stating that if 200,000 voters elect someone then why should an unelected judge disqualify them.

He maintained that political parties should settle their disputes outside of court.

“In the public interest, courts should not be involved in cases of disqualification of elected representatives,” he said. Justice Minallah further questioned why it should hear the case to disqualify any elected representative, stating that the court refrained from exercising its power in this matter.

Last year, the IHC had sought arguments on the maintainability of a petition challenging the eligibility of the PPP senior leader and the information minister as members of the National Assembly.

Ruling PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman and Usman Dar had filed a petition in January 2019, challenging the appointment of Zardari as MNA alleging that the former president is not Sadiq and Ameen as he did not mention his New York flat in the nomination forms submitted in 2018.

Similarly, Fawad’s appointment as MNA was challenged by TV anchor Sami Ibrahim, who alleged that the federal minister failed to mention his properties in Lahore and Jhelum in the 2018 nomination papers.

During the proceedings in 2021, the court had summoned the attorney general for Pakistan on the next hearing for assistance and had sought the opinion of the National Assembly speaker and Senate chairman regarding such matters.

The IHC CJ directed petitioner Zaman’s lawyer to give references of top courts’ judgment and satisfy the court regarding the maintainability of the case. “Why the court should interfere in such matters,” the bench had asked.

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