SC notices Nawaz, others

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

A three member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar accepted on Monday petitions for hearing relating to Elections Act 2017 and issued notices to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the election commission of Pakistan and others in the case.
The petitions filed by PTI, PPP, Awami Muslim League and others challenge specific clauses of the recently passed Elections Act 2017, stating that Nawaz’s appointment as party president is in violation of Clause 5 of the Political Parties Order 2002 and Article 17 of the Constitution.
At the outset of proceedings on Monday, the chief justice remarked that the petitions are political in nature. He also observed that Parliament is the supreme body of lawmaking in the country, adding that the court will strictly move according to the law.
The chief justice sought precedents from the petitioners in which the court struck down the laws passed by the parliament.
Farogh Naseem, the counsel of Sheikh Rashid argued before the bench that the head of a political party cannot be a person found in violation of Article 62 of the Constitution, adding that the party head controls who becomes an MNA. After Naseem concluded his arguments, the PPP’s counsel Latif Khosa presented his client’s case.
Concluding the hearing, the bench accepted the petitions and issued notices to the respondents, including Nawaz and the Election Commission of Pakistan, and sought their responses. The hearing was then adjourned until January 23.
Following Nawaz’s disqualification as prime minister in July in the Panama Papers case, the ruling party managed to amend the Constitution to allow the former prime minister to retain presidency of the PML-N. As a result, the Elections Act 2017 was passed by Parliament bringing Nawaz back as the party president despite his disqualification from the National Assembly.

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