ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister Azam Swati is in deep trouble as the top court is considering invoking Article 62 (1) (f) of Constitution against him for allegedly misusing his authority by utilising the police to intimidate a poor family.
The Supreme Court on Friday decided to consider Swati’s case in the preview of Article 62 (1) (f), a provision which allows the judiciary to disqualify any lawmaker for lifetime on account of his/her being not Sadiq [truthful] and Ameen [trustworthy].
The apex court while exercising quo warranto jurisdiction has already disqualified dozens of lawmakers on different grounds – like concealment of assets, fake degrees and dual nationalities.
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The superior judiciary while interpreting the same article in various rulings has held that the same constitutional provision can be applied to misuse of authority by the public representatives.
No lawmaker has been disqualified so far on the ground of misuse of authority but the apex court has repeatedly mentioned applicability of Article 62 (1) (f) of Constitution after DPO Pakpattan case.
In the said, case, the incumbent Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, also from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), narrowly escaped disqualification after he tendered an unconditional apology to the SC. Swati is facing a similar charge of misuse of authority.
Swati’s son had registered a case against slum dwellers who, he claimed, were trespassing on Swati’s lands and getting into altercations with his staff. The accused were arrested and sent to Adiala jail.
It was in relation to this dispute that Swati had tried to contact Islamabad’s Inspector General Police (IGP) Jan Muhammad who had not picked up his calls. He had complained against the IGP to Prime Minister Imran Khan who transferred him on verbal directions.
Later, the apex court initiated suo motu proceedings and taking strong exception to the transfer of the IGP’ suspended the government’s order to transfer the policeman.
A three-judge SC bench, headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, on Friday issued notice to Swati to explain why Article 62 (1) (f) should not be applied to him in this case.
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The bench noted if Swati does not want an inquiry into this matter then he should resign. The CJP said purpose of inclusion of the Article 62 (1) (f) is to curb misuse of authority by public representatives.
“We will go into depth as it is a matter about people, who are ruling the country. We cannot allow such people to rule the country,” he added.
The bench also constituted a three-member joint investigation team (JIT) to probe whether Swati used his influence in this matter; how he (Swati) made his assets and why he left the US whether he can return to America or not.
The JIT comprises the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) Ahmad Rizwan, the Federal Investigation Agency’s Mir Vaiz Niaz and a director general from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The JIT shall submit its report within 14 days.
Earlier, Barrister Ali Zafar appeared before the bench on behalf of Swati. The CJP told him that he always represents the influential people and that his client did injustice to a poor family. “Why your practicing license should not be suspended?” he asked.
During the hearing, the bench asked Islamabad police why an FIR was not registered against Swati.
Later, a member of aggrieved family appeared before the bench and stated that he has pardoned Swati in the name of God. However, the CJP said the court will not pardon him.
Zafar said his client is sorry for his conduct. However, the CJP said in that case he should resign. “Have you asked your client why he was so proud to replace the IGP over this minor issue?” the CJP asked.
The bench also asked the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to give detail of the status of land occupied by Swati.