ISLAMABAD: In another blow to PML-N, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has been disqualified by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on the basis of holding an Abu Dhabi Iqama (work permit).
On April 10, an IHC larger bench had reserved its judgment in a matter where a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Usman Dar sought disqualification of the federal minister on the basis of work permit.
Justice Athar Minallah heading the three-member bench, read out the order disqualifying the foreign minister under Article 62(1)(f). Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani were the other members of the bench.
"We declare that the Respondent was not qualified to contest the General Election of 2013 from NA 110 as he did not fulfill the conditions described under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, read with section 99(1)(f) of the Act of 197," the judgement stated.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Usman Dar filed this petition seeking disqualification of Asif for concealing the facts that he was an Iqama holder, legal advisor of a company in UAE and his recent labour card was issued on June 29, 2017. Khawaja Asif on the other hand took a view that he concealed nothing and his Iqama was declared in the nomination paper.
The petitioner adopted that Supreme Court on July 28 disqualified former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif for possessing an ‘Iqama’ and Khawaja Asif can also be disqualified on similar grounds.
The bench had reserved the verdict, however, it allowed the parties to submit additional documents if they have. Khawaja Asif on April 16 submitted a letter of an Abu Dhabi company where he is employed.
After the verdict, joyous Dar dedicated his victory to the people of Sialkot and PTI Chairman Imran Khan. "I had decided to throw Kh Asif out of the parliament and today I have done this," he further said.
As per the letter presented in the court, Khawaja Asif’s job with International Mechanical & Electrical Co. WLL. is quite flexible and there are no conditions on him to stay there in Abu Dhabi. The company can seek his legal advice via telephone or whenever he comes to UAE. Managing Director of the company, Elias Salloum, has expressed that he is ready to come before any court in Pakistan.
After the order, Kh Asif told Hamid Mir that he would challenge the verdict in the apex court. "I am hopeful of getting relief from the SC," said the minister.
While PTI was overjoyed, Maryam Nawaz on the other hand said Khawaja Asif was disqualified in a “fixed match”.
“Whoever you are certain you cannot defeat in a fair match, you get them disqualified through a fixed match,” she tweeted.
'Iqama used to shield corruption'
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan said that Khawaja Asif has been disqualified for 'using iqama to shield corruption & indulge in money laundering'.
In his response on the disqualification, the PTI chief said: "Another darbari of the Godfather disqualified on the same pattern - using iqama to shield corruption & indulge in money laundering - as well as being guilty of brazen conflict of interest".
"Allah Al Haq hai - Kh Asif targeted SKMTH & has been publicly humiliated here & abroad," he tweeted.
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