Friday October 15, 2021

Petitions against Zardari, Fawad: ‘Why does Parliament not hold its members accountable?’

September 28, 2021
Petitions against Zardari, Fawad: ‘Why does Parliament not hold its members accountable?’

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday sought arguments from lawyers pertaining to the court’s jurisdiction in petitions challenging the qualification of former president Asif Ali Zardari and Minister for Information & Broadcasting Chaudhary Fawad Hussain as members of Parliament. The hearing of the cases was adjourned till November 4.

PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman had filed a petition against Asif Ali Zardari, alleging him for concealing his assets in New York. His lawyer Faisal Chaudhary appeared before the court and informed the bench that he would also contest the case of Chaudhary Fawad Hussain.

The lawyer said he was not arguing on the case’s merit now rather he needed time to study it. Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked why the court should hear disqualification cases against the elected members of Parliament.

“If the public elects such persons despite knowing everything, then why the court should interfere into the matter,” he observed, adding that there were also alternative forums available in the country to address such complaints. The court asked why not the Parliament itself prepared a mechanism of accountability of its members.

“It had been proved that the courts decisions in such matters had different effects,” Justice Minallah remarked. He said the ICH had disqualified a Member of Parliament but later on his appeal was accepted by the Supreme Court. He said in such matters, the people of a constituency remain deprived of representation for a certain period of time.

He said serving only notices to respondents would also have negative impacts in such cases. “Every institution has its own accountability system, then why does not the Parliament set up its own mechanism to view such matters,” the bench asked.

The chief justice remarked that the cases of poor people were more important to this court. Justice Minallah said his court would pass an order on next hearing regarding these two cases. The bench instructed the lawyers to convince it with arguments that why it should hear such cases and adjourned the case till November 4.