Belated SCBA challenge may bring lifeline to Nawaz, Tareen

Islamabad, Jan 28: Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has challenged the Supreme Court’s rulings that curtailed the electoral careers of two key political leaders Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, as well as former Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen by disqualifying them from standing for elections, Dawn reported on Friday.
In its petition the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) also seeks the declaration that Supreme Court proceedings under Article 184(3) or Article 199 of the Constitution do not constitute declarations by a court of law, as envisioned in Article 62(1)(f), since the affected parties have no recourse or right to appeal.
The two political leaders were disqualified as lawmakers in judgements rendered in the Panama Papers case on July 28, 2017, and the Hanif Abbasi case on Dec 15, 2017, respectively, without specifying the period of their disqualification.
The petition has asked the apex court to rule that the declaration by a court of law under Article 62(1)(f) only applies to the election under question, and does not put a life ban on these leaders from ever contesting any election in the future.
The petition argues that the lack of clarity regarding the procedure for a declaration under Article 62(1)(f) continues to pose an obstacle to the constitutional protection to citizens under Article 17(2), which allows citizens to form or become a member of any political party.
The petition also argued that the judgement restricted the electorate’s choice of candidates and eroded the electorate’s right to vote, which has been held to be a fundamental right by the Supreme Court.
The excessively punitive and restraining interpretation of Article 62(1)(f) deprives potential candidates of their right to contest elections and form a government, even after they have rectified the fault over for which they were disqualified in the first place, it said.
This move by the SCBA is being seen as quite a significant one as it could have a major impact on the country’s political scene. (UNI)