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February 13, 2018

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Disqualification period case: SC imposes Rs20,000 fine on AG over non-appearance

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday asked Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali to pay Rs20,000 over his failure to appear before it in a case related to the interpretation of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.

A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was hearing 13 identical pleas, seeking interpretation and determination of length of disqualification in the available provisions of the Constitution as well as the election laws.

The chief justice took notice of the non-appearance of the attorney general and directed him to pay Rs20,000 which will be deposited to the Fatimid Foundation. Waqar Rana, Additional Attorney General, informed the court that the attorney general is in Lahore in connection with funeral of former president of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Asma Jahangir, and sought adjournment until tomorrow (Wednesday). But the chief justice ordered the attorney general to pay fine. The chief justice said they too are saddened by the demise of Asma Jahangir but the important case taken up by the court cannot be ignored.

The chief justice reminded the law officer that the court had issued the attorney general a notice to appear. Waqar Rana informed the court that attorney general is scheduled to go abroad at which the chief justice said how the attorney general could leave the country during the hearing of an important case. “What sort of attitude is this?” the CJP remarked.

Justice Saqib Nisar then directed the attorney general to appear before the court by 4:30pm to present his arguments and withdrew earlier order relating to payment of fine. Later, when the attorney general did not appear before the court at 4:30pm, the court again directed Ashtar Ausaf to pay Rs20,000 as fine due to his failure to appear before the court.

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