ISLAMABAD: Hearing pleas to set a time-period for disqualification, five-member bench headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar admitted that article 62 (1) (F) is ambiguous and difficult to define.
Arguing on behalf of disqualified MP Rai Hassan Nawaz, lawyer Asma Jahangir contended that there was no such thing as disqualification for voters. She said that it was very difficult to judge someone’s character based on technicalities in declarations.
She told the court that Rai Hassan Nawaz was disqualified on the basis of allegedly hiding assets which he had not even possessed. The company asset in question had been sold as the company was not owned by Rai Hassan.
Justice Umer Ata Bandial said that the court could solve questions having a concrete basis only. “Does the question of Article 62 (1) (F) have a concrete basis?” asked Justice Bandial.
Asma Jahangir asked that who would define the premises if the question of ideology of Pakistan was involved. To this, Justice Bandial replied that they were not discussing the question of ideology of Pakistan.
Asma Jahangir recalled that in Zia era, she lived in fear of being summoned on flimsiest of grounds. The same fear prevails today, she remarked.
She said that till 1985, court verdict was not necessary for someone’s qualification. She reminded the apex court that the apex court admitted in B.A. degree qualification case that the degree criterion limited voters’ choice.
CJP Mian Saqib Nisar concluded that the court cannot declare ambiguous laws null and void. Justice Azmat Saeed said that the duration of disqualification would remain effective till the current declaration of assets stood.
Asma Jehangir suggested that the court take articles 62 and 63 simultaneously into account and set the duration of disqualification till 5 years. She also suggested to mete out different punishments depending on the extent of transgression and dishonesty.
Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked that it was the court’s discretion to determine the duration and extent of the punishments. “How would a person declared dishonest become honest after 5 years?” he asked. He said that the parliamentarians do not want dishonest and untruthful persons in the house.
In the next hearing, attorney general will present his case. NNI