Lawyers to fend off challenge to Sharif’s re-election

Changes in Election Act allowed ex-PM to be re-elected PML-N chief

Hasnaat Malik February 01, 2018
Political show will aim at exposing 'flawed' governance of the PTI led K-P government. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has engaged a legal team to defend disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s reelection as party head.

Sources in PML-N revealed to The Express Tribune that Salman Akram Raja and Azam Nazeer Tarar will appear on behalf of PML-N to defend Nawaz Sharif as party head before the Supreme Court. A number of major political parties including PPP and PTI have challenged the Elections Reforms Act 2017, which paved the way for Sharif to become party head again after his disqualification from political office under Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution. The SC will take up the matter on February 6.

Supreme Court for setting high standards for lawmakers

It has been learnt that National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who is also a respondent in this case, has contacted lawyer Babar Sattar to defend the election law.

On the other hand, sources reveal that the PML-N contacted senior lawyers Khalid Anwar and Makhdoom Ali Khan, but they did not show much interest in this case due to various reasons. Senior lawyers believe that it is difficult to argue the case when the PML-N leadership is targeting judges in public gatherings.

However, a senior PML-N leader revealed that Nawaz Sharif himself is not interested in engaging counsel for his defence in this matter as he believes that it is the job of parliament to defend the law, which was passed by both houses.

Independent lawyer says that legally, it would be better for Nawaz Sharif to engage counsel for his defence.

On the other hand, one section of PML-N believes that the party leadership should change its policy of criticising the judiciary in public gatherings. “Though we are gaining politically by criticising the judiciary, it is damaging on legal fronts”, a senior PML-N leader said.

Earlier, the Supreme Court bench hearing the suo motu case of seven-year-old Zainab’s rape and murder in Kasur took a slight detour after a question was raised regarding former premier Nawaz Sharif’s recent rhetoric.

During the hearing at the SC Lahore Registry on Sunday, the top court hinted that it might take notice of the former prime minister’s anti-judiciary speeches at an ‘appropriate’ time.

Supreme Court for setting high standards for lawmakers

A journalist had asked why the SC was not taking notice of Sharif’s speeches, to which the CJP said that there is a proper time to take action in any matter, and that any action would be taken at “the appropriate time”, and that, “When we will decide to take notice, no power in the world can force us to stop.”

The superior judiciary has shown judicial restraint at the unprecedented onslaught against it from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

After the issuance of the first Panama Papers verdict on April 20, the PML-N started targeting the Supreme Court bench and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing corruption allegations against the Sharif family. This criticism intensified after the July 28 verdict disqualifying Sharif from holding public office.

Later, Nawaz went on a rally across Punjab, wherein he severely criticised judges for disqualifying him based on a misdeclaration in his nomination papers. With the passage of time, Nawaz’s criticism of the judiciary has increased. Recently, he announced he would start a movement to improve the judicial system.