ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court returned a constitutional petition filed by chief of Awami Muslim League (AML) Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, challenging the Election Act of 2017, which paved the way for Nawaz Sharif to become head of the PML-N after his disqualification by virtue of the apex court’s ruling on July 28.
The petition was filed on behalf of the AML chief by Dr Farogh Nasim under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, naming the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Nawaz Sharif and PML-N, among others, as respondents.
Returning the petition, the SC registrar’s office objected that the petitioner had not approached any other forum for the same relief and did not provide any justification in this regard. Citing another objection, the registrar’s office stated that the certificate was not in conformity with requirements specified in Rule 6 of Order XXV of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980.
Sheikh Rasheed’s petition contended that Section 203 of the Election Act, 2017 did not expressly permit any person disqualified by a court to remain or become an office-bearer of a political party.
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“The disqualification recorded by a court of law under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot be overtaken by a sub-constitutional law and if a person cannot become a parliamentarian due to the operation of constitutional law, he surely cannot become head or office-bearer of a political party.”
Terming the proposed amendment mala fide and unconstitutional, the petitioner also contended that new rules were being introduced just to accommodate Sharif.
Sheikh Rasheed requested the SC to declare Sharif disqualified as the party’s head.
“Declare Sections 203 and 232 of the Election Act of 2017 and deletion of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath through the said the Election Act, 2017, to be completely without jurisdiction, unconstitutional, mala fide and with no legal effect.”
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Speaking to reporters outside the court, Sheikh Rasheed said that the law was meant to ensure that a man who had been disqualified by five judges of the Supreme Court was elected as head of his party. “There is no historical precedent to amend a law to go against a decision of the Supreme Court,” the AML chief maintained.
Meanwhile, a Supreme Court lawyer, Sheikh Ahsenuddin advocate, filed a contempt petition against Nawaz Sharif and Pemra Chairman Absar Alam for allegedly delivering and allowing broadcast of hate speeches against the judiciary.
Ahsenuddin contended that Sharif had refused to accept the court’s verdict and was persistently criticising the judiciary. Similarly, he said, the chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority was legally bound not to permit telecast of Sharif’s contemptuous speeches, but he failed to do so.
The petitioner requested the SC to initiate contempt proceedings against Sharif and the chairman of Pemra.
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