ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court’s senior judge Justice Athar Minallah on Thursday recused himself from the bench set to hear a petition seeking disqualification of prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan.
Justice Minallah said he recused himself because the petitioner belongs to the former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s party, where he [Justice Minallah] had served as a spokesperson.
The new IHC division bench was formed earlier today to hear the petition seeking the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman’s disqualification for concealing his alleged daughter Tyrian Jade White in the nomination papers.
IHC chief justice constituted the new bench, comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Justice Minallah to hear the petitions, inter alia, asking the court to stop Imran Khan from taking oath as prime minister.
Earlier, a division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb had recused itself after the petitioner’s counsel raised objections on the formation of the bench saying initially the case was fixed before IHC’s Justice Siddiqui and Justice Farooq. However, IHC chief justice had re-constituted the bench and replaced Justice Siddiqui with Justice Aurangzeb. The reconstituted bench was dissolved on Aug 1 after the bench recused itself from the case.
Petitioner Abdul Wahab Baloch, a candidate for election from NA-53 belonging to the Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party (PJDP) led by former CJP Chaudhry, through his counsel Sheikh Ahsanuddin filed the petition, raising objections on Khan for not disclosing his ‘daughter’ Tyrian in the nomination papers.
Another petitioner, Hafiz Ehtesham, has requested the court to direct federal government to collect certified record from an American court related to Tyrian White case. He has also prayed the court to direct Khan’s second wife, Reham Khan, to present evidence in connection with the allegation she has leveled against Khan in her recent book.
Interestingly, the petitioner has relied upon the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi vs Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, ex Prime Minister of Pakistan, along with the SC judgment dated July 28, 2017.
The newly constituted bench was to take up the matter today.