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May 20, 2018

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No legal bar on employment as MNA, Asif tells SC

ISLAMABAD: Former foreign minister Khawaja Asif on Saturday submitted his synopsis before the Supreme Court in his appeal challenging his disqualification with the contention that there is no constitutional bar on employment of members of the National Assembly.

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The Supreme Court on May 7 had declined to stay the judgment, announced by Islamabad High Court (IHC) declaring that Khawaja Asif was not qualified to contest the general election of 2013 from the National Assembly constituency NA-110, Sialkot as he did not fulfil the conditions described under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution read with Section 99(1)(f) of the Representation of People’s Act (ROPA), 1976.

The court had held that Khawaja Asif on purpose wrongly stated his occupation in the nomination form as business to conceal his employment and salary with the UAE company from the electorate of Sialkot NA-110.

The IHC had also held that Khawaja Asif has purposely concealed his salary Of AED 9,000 in his statement of assets and liabilities in the nomination form prescribed under Section 12 of the ROPA 1976. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Usman Dar had filed a petition before the IHC, seeking disqualification of Khawaja Asif for concealing his Iqama.

Later, Khawaja Asif challenged his disqualification in the Supreme Court, praying for staying the verdict of IHC.

The Supreme Court refused to stay the IHC verdict and issued notice to the Usman Dar on appeal filed by the former foreign minister. On Saturday, Khawaja Asif contended that it is a matter of record that he continued with his employment despite being elected as MNA and also taking oath of office as a federal minister, however, there is no constitutional bar or restriction in any other law of Pakistan in respect of such employment. He further submitted that the information as to his foreign salary, foreign remittances and name of employer were available with the respondent at the time when he (Khawaja Asif) filed his nomination form.

“Yet the respondent (Usman Dar) failed to agitate the same even post-election when he field election petition against my election, therefore, the respondent’s petition before the IHC was barred under Order II Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908,” Khawaja Asif contended.

Similarly, the counsel for Usman Dar Sikandar Bashir Mohmand also submitted his 20-page written synopsis in the Supreme Court, praying for upholding the verdict of the IHC disqualifying Khawaja Asif.

He contended that the IHC verdict was correct as Khawaja Asif did not disclose details of his salary in order to avoid income tax on it.

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