PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday dismissed two constitutional petitions filed for disqualification of the Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel.
A two-member bench of the court comprising Justice Shah Jehan Khan and Justice Fazl-e-Haq Abbasi dismissed the petitions.
Shahid Orakzai, a freelance journalist, had moved the high court under Article 199 of the Constitution. The first petition was filed against appointment of Haji Adeel as member of the National Finance Commission (NFC) by the president on advice of the governor, arguing appointing a senator to represent a province in the NFC award is violation of Article 160 of the Constitution.
The petitioner said that according to the abovementioned article, the senator could not be appointed as NFC member as he was neither a minister nor an advisor and thus the NFC was not properly constituted. He submitted that any person elected to the parliament could neither represent nor act on behalf of a provincial executive because such a person is not responsible to the provincial assembly.
He requested the court to declare appointment of Senator Haji Adeel to be against the Constitution and in violation of terms of his oath taken under the Constitution.
Abdul Lateef Afridi, counsel for Haji Adeel, said that under Article 160 of the Constitution, the president has the jurisdiction to appoint an expert in the NFC and his client was an expert on financial matters. He said his client had received appreciation from the government for his hard work in formulation of the NFC award.
The second constitutional petition was filed against Haji Adeel for a statement in which he allegedly suggested the deletion of the word ‘Islamic’ from the name ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’.
Shahid Orakzai submitted that the senator on December 26, 2009 had reportedly stated that the word ‘Islamic’ should be deleted from the title of Pakistan as given by the first article of Constitution.
He contended that deletion of a fundamental word like ‘Islamic’ from the Constitution can nullify the entire document, adding that the word ‘Islamic’ is mentioned thrice in the oath the senator took before taking his seat in the senate. He said the senator’s statement had belied his oath and hence he should be disqualified from being a member of the senate.
Abdul Lateef Afridi rejected the claim and stated that it was only a suggestion of the ANP before the Constitutional Committee of the Parliament, which was rejected. He said that under Article 19 of the Constitution every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression and his client used that right. He said that both the petitions were non-maintainable and thus be dismissed.
Additional Advocate General Naveed Akhtar, representing the provincial government and also standing counsel for the federal government, said that under Article 160 of the Constitution the president has the jurisdiction to appoint any person in the NFC. Both the state counsels supported the plea of Haji Adeel’s lawyer in the cases.