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March 21, 2018

Disputation on London flats, disqualification on Iqama: SC

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March 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD: While hearing Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed disqualification case, the Supreme Court (SC) questioned on Tuesday if the principles laid down in the Panamagate case would not be applicable to everyone.

A three-member SC bench, headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, reserved its judgment in a petition, filed by Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Shakil Awan. The petitioner sought disqualification of Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed for not disclosing his complete assets in his nomination papers during the last general elections.

During the course of hearing, Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, a member of the bench, remarked that in the Panamadgate case, the matter was related to the London flats, but disqualification was made on Iqama. He remarked that it is now difficult to contest election in Pakistan as filing a nomination paper for the election is also difficult. He remarked that the decision has established that when someone will commit a mistake, he won't be able to run for polls.

The judge said that American president says that he will not show such and such assets, but here an error results in disqualification, adding that if Sheikh Rasheed made a mistake by not showing his assets, then the matter would stop at the Panamagate case and there could be no two status of principles of law.

Counsel for PML-N leader Shakil Awan contended that Sheikh Rasheed did not disclose complete assets in his nomination papers during the last general elections, hence the concealment of assets could lead to disqualification.

However, Abdur Rasheed Awan, counsel for Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, claimed that there was no concealment of assets, but only an error in collections. Justice Qazi Faiz Isa asked the counsel Shakil Awan as to whether he had prayed in his petition for disqualification of Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed.

The counsel replied that Sheikh Rashid had concealed assets, hence he could be disqualified for this, adding that Sheikh Rashid had also admitted to his fault of giving contradictory details regarding his assets.

In this respect, the counsel also referred to disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Panamagate scandal. To this, Justice Azmat Saeed said they were waiting for the counsel to bring that up.

Justice Faiz Isa asked the counsel if he was seeking disqualification of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in the light of Panamagate case for committing a mistake by not disclosing his assets in the nomination papers.

Justice Isa observed that Panama case was filed in the apex court on the basis of London properties of Shairf family, while the verdict was issued on the basis of Iqma. Justice Azmat Saeed observed that they were waiting for the counsel for citing the Panamagate case. In that case, principles were set suggesting disqualification on fault,” Justice Azmat remarked adding that on some faults, disqualification occurs and on some not. He said that in some cases, intention of a person is also examined. Justice Azamt questioned as to whether anyone had admitted his fault, adding that if fault is to consider strictly, then Sheikh Rashid Ahmed would be out.

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