The Supreme Court is all set to take up important cases next week having significant political and administrative implications.
These cases relate to the National Assembly speaker’s ruling on the question of Prime Minister Gilani’s disqualification, the Asghar Khan’s petition involving secret agencies’ role in political affairs, the matter of dual nationality of elected members, and the law and order situation in Balochistan.
PTI, PML-N petitions
The most notable of the lot are the petitions filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, pertaining to the disqualification of the prime minister, which is on the cause list for June 6. A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will decide whether the speaker had the right to rule whether or not any question arises about the prime minister’s disqualification. The government had defended speaker’s ruling as final and unchallengeable.
Sources in the Law Ministry told The Express Tribune that, before National Assembly speaker’s ruling, Attorney General Irfan Qadir had suggested sending a reference against Justice Nasirul Mulk and the other judges of the trial bench to the Supreme Judicial Council, as, he alleged, they had handed down an illegal verdict against the chief executive of the country.
Asghar Khan’s case
On June 4, the court will resume its hearing of the explosive Asghar Khan petition regarding the involvement of intelligence agencies in rigging the 1990 parliamentary elections. So far, the court has not been able to get its hands on key inquiry commission reports into the financial transactions from federal government.
The attorney general and secretary law told the court that, unfortunately, the two reports had been misplaced from official record. They were also reluctant when the court asked legal action to be initiated against those responsible for misplacing the records.
Nevertheless, this case has reached an important point.
Dual nationality case
On June 4, the court will also hear cases pertaining to dual national parliamentarians. Having already seen the suspension of the National Assembly membership of presidential aide Faranaz Ispahani, the case now centres on the fate of Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
Though Malik claimed, on oath, before the Supreme Court that he had renounced his British citizenship back in 2008, it has been reported that the minister had only done so recently. The key minister could also face the same fate as Ispahani at the hands of an already irked bench.
During the last hearing of the Balochistan law and order situation case, the chief justice had asked Khushnood Lashari, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, to convey to the premier the court’s concern about the lack of interest of the attorney general to represent the federation in a number of key cases.
The government has come to life recently on the Balochistan issues, having held a number of important meetings on the matter. The premier is also going on a two-day trip to the troubled province. The court on the other hand says it is unimpressed by the initiatives to solve core problems.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2012.
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