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Disqualification of parliamentarian to be in place until cancellation by court: Justice Ahsan

Judge says only disqualification done under Article 62(1)(f) of constitution is life-long

Supreme Court judge Justice Ijazul Ahsan said on Tuesday that a lawmaker would continue to remain disqualified until the declaration for his disqualification was cancelled by a court.

The apex court judge made the comments as a five-member bench led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, resumed hearing the presidential reference seeking the apex court’s interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution.

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During today’s hearing, Pakistan Tehreek-s-Insaf’s lawyer Babar Awan gave his arguments on the party chief Imran Khan’s behalf. He maintained that those who had not made due payments for their utility bills were also not eligible to become a parliamentarian.

“If the time period is not determined then the disqualification is for life,” he contended.

At this, Justice Mandokhail questioned if a lawmaker would remain disqualified even if the dues were paid before the next election.

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Justice Ahsan said that the disqualification would end once the outstanding dues were paid. Only disqualification done under Article 62(1)(f) – which sets the condition for a lawmaker to be considered “sadiq and ameen” (honest and righteous) – is life-long, he observed.

However, he said, that the “disqualification would be in place until the declaration is cancelled by the court”, adding that disqualification for the non-payment of utility bills could not be for life.

Awan went on to say that it would be an insult to Article 63-A if a parliamentarian was de-seated and then returned to parliament within 15 days.

Justice Miankhel stated that he [Awan] was asking that dissident lawmakers be disqualified for life, to which Awan pointed to the seriousness of the crime.

In reply, Justice Miankhel stated that Article 63(1)(g) was a more serious crime, adding that it pertained to ridicule towards judiciary, army, and the ideology of Pakistan.

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