ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) larger bench on Monday started hearing a petition seeking disqualification of Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for possessing an iqama (UAE work permit), directing the respondent’s counsel to submit a reply within 10 days.
The bench, headed by Justice Amir Farooq, also directed to give an advance copy of the reply to the petitioner's counsel so that both the parties are in a position to argue the matter on the next hearing.
The bench has re-issued notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with directions to submit reply by the next date of hearing.
Asif's lawyer submitted a Civil Miscellaneous Application (CMA) to the court. Moreover, an official reply will be submitted in the next hearing.
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The application reads: "That constitution of a larger bench by this Honorable Court has directly deprived Respondent No 1 [Khawaja Asif] of his substantive right to an appeal provided for by Section 3 of the Law Reforms Ordinance 1972."
It also states, "Only after the immediately preceding two independent grounds are graciously ruled upon, may this Honorable Court kindly proceed to hear the matter purely upon its own merits, if any."
The counsel for Asif said he did not want to press the application and would submit a detailed reply by the next hearing.
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The plea for Asif’s disqualification was filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Usman Dar.
The petitioner was a PTI candidate in the 2013 general election in NA-110 – the Sialkot constituency in Punjab province from where Asif was elected to the National Assembly.