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February 09,2018

Article 62 is ambiguous, admits CJP

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ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Mian Saqib Nisar, on Thursday observed that Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution was vague and its interpretation was difficult.

The chief justice gave these remarks while heading a five-member bench of the Supreme Court hearing a case pertaining to determination of disqualification period. The chief justice remarked that articles 62 and 63 are independent and separate from each other.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that the legislators don’t want that a dishonest person take part in legislation. Asma Jahangir, counsel for Rai Hassan Nawaz, argued that there was no eligibility or ineligibility for voters. She said there is ambiguity in Article 62(1)(f). She questioned how the good repute or bad character of any person could be determined and which court will give declaration in this regard.

Rai Hassan Nawaz was disqualified for not disclosing assets. Asma Jahangir said the company assets were sold out and the company was not in his name. She further argued that how can a court do the job what the parliament has not done. She said the parliament should make the decision on political matters.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the court can resolve solid questions. He said the court cannot solve the questions based on presumptions. Asma Jahangir said who will determine if the matter pertains to the ideology of Pakistan. She said the parliament has not become free so far.

The chief justice remarked that this impression is not correct that parliament is not free. Asma Jahangir said what fear persisted in Ziaul Haq’s regime was still persisting. The chief justice remarked that can a person who is declared dishonest contest by-polls. He said the Article 62(1)(f) is vague and how can a court nullify a vague article. “What will be the procedure for interpretation of a vague article?”

Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked the court can determine honesty. He said how a dishonest person will become honest after some time. He further remarked the legislators don’t want that dishonest persons participate in law-making process.

Asma Jahangir said articles 62 and 63 are connected with each other. Justice Saqib Nisar said if the court declares anyone dishonest under Article 62(1)(f) then what will be period of disqualification in respect of this person. Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that there was a man who admitted in the court that his degree was fake. He said the man resigned and took part in re-election. He returned to Parliament by securing more votes in by-polls.

Asma Jahangir said maximum disqualification period under Article 62(1)(f) should be five years. Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed remarked why the period of disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) was not mentioned in 18th Amendment.

The chief justice observed that articles 62 and 63 are two independent and separate articles. He said the disqualification will stay as long as declaration stays. Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked we should keep the standard of ideal persons high.

Asma Jahangir said that then we should bring people of high standard from outside. She said such people will not come from Pakistan. The court adjourned the hearing of the case till Monday, saying no one else will be heard in this case now. -


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