The federal government finally submitted the report of a committee headed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Raja Zafarul Haq on the controversy regarding the change in the Khatm-e-Nabuwat clause in the Election Act, 2017 in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday.
Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Arshad Mehmood Kayani who was representing the federal government submitted the report in a sealed envelope before Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui at 1pm after the court set a final deadline. It had warned that contempt proceedings could be launched against key government officials and the government can ask the Prime Minister to appear in person if it failed to submit the report.
Justice Siddiqui said that report shall remain sealed till court order, directing the petitioner to present arguments on a daily basis from February 21 [today].
Earlier, Justice Siddiqui had warned the federal government with contempt of court proceedings if the report was not submitted by 1:00pm Tuesday. Since November, the court has repeatedly directed the federal government to submit the report before the court.
“In case of non-compliance, the court would be constraint to issue contempt notices to all the delinquents and the prime minister would be called in person,” he said. “Let the heaven fall, there is nothing important than this issue.”
IHC threatens authorities with contempt charges for non-submission of Faizabad sit-in report
During the court proceedings, DAG Kayani informed the court that he was unable to submit the report due to a miscommunication. He had subsequently sought time till Tuesday.
“This is an entirely lame excuse to frustrate the court’s order,” Justice Siddiqui remarked. He directed the DAG to submit the report by 1:00pm on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the court has separated the Faizabad sit-in case from the matter pertaining to Khatm-e-Nabuwat observing that the Supreme Court has already taken cognizance of the Faizabad sit-in case.
While adjourning the sit-in case, Justice Siddiqui said that the court would hear the Khatm-e-Nabuwat matter on a day-to-day basis.
On February 12, the IHC had warned the federal government that contempt notices would be issued to the prime minister, law, interior and religious affairs ministers if the report regarding the controversy surrounding Khatm-e-Nabuwat declaration for election candidates was not submitted by February 20.
In the previous hearing, Justice Siddiqui had granted the final opportunity to the government to submit the report.
“Let the matter be adjourned to 20.02.2018 with final opportunity to the Federal Government to submit the report, otherwise this court shall issue contempt notices to all the responsible and may also consider issuance of notice to the Chief Executive,” Justice Siddiqui’s order of Feb 12 read.
The directions came in response to the petition of Mulana Allah Wasaya wherein he through his counsel Hafiz Arfat and Kashifa Niaz stated that the Elections Act, 2017 relating to provisions/ declaration/oaths is against Article 8 and 227 of the Constitution. He added that the change in clause had also resulted in serious law and order situation throughout the country.
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