Sardar Khan Niazi
During the hearings of Panamagate case in the Supreme Court, the prime minister’s counsel maintained that the evidence presented by petitioners thus far does not fulfill the requirements for the disqualification of the prime minister. Quoting Articles 62 and 63, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel, Makhdoom Ali Khan, said that the requirements for the conviction and disqualification of the premier have not been met. “Substantial evidence is required for the disqualification of a Member of National Assembly,” he maintained.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by Supreme Court to investigate the Sharif family’s business dealings has recommended in the final report that the NAB open a reference against the prime minister and his family after it found glaring disparities between their known sources of income and their actual wealth. The JIT report recommended that a reference should be filed against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, as well as daughter Maryam Nawaz under Section 9 of the NAB ordinance 1999.
A debate has been initiated in the legal fraternity that what would be the future of Prime Minister after next hearing of Supreme Court on coming Monday. Clause (9) of article 91 of the Constitution of Pakistan of states that a minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the National Assembly shall, at the expiration of that period, cease to be a Minister and shall not before the dissolution of that Assembly be again appointed a Minister unless he is elected a member of that Assembly. Legal experts are debating either this clause of the constitution would implement in this case or not. Some believe that if Supreme Court convicts Prime Minister under article 62-63 then there would be no reason for PM to continue with his designation and he would automatically be removed as per law. We have example of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani that once SC convicted him, he was removed with an immediate effect.
When Daily The Patriot contacted renowned legal expert based in London Barrister Sibghatullah Kadri, he said that according to his point of view clause 9 of article 91 does not apply on Prime Minister because it states about the Members of National Assembly, while PM is elected with the voting of majority of the MNA’s. He was of the view that JIT presented its report in Supreme Court in front of three member bench, which he believes holds the authority to monitor the report presented by JIT. He was of the view that now we have to wait and see either Chief Justice of Pakistan forms same five-member bench or another to announce the final verdict.
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