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SC issues notices to Nawaz, others in case challenging Election Act

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), federal government, the attorney general for Pakistan on petitions challenging provision of election law to allow a disqualified person to hold office in a political party.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, however, rejected another petition for striking down a provision in the Election Act 2017. This provision mandates a new political party to provide verified thumb impression of 20, 000 members to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The Chief Justice observed that the Parliament is supreme, as stated in Jahangir Tareen’s case. “We cannot overstep the jurisdiction of Parliament,” he said. He asked the petitioners to cite judgments wherein legislation had been declared void.

After arguments by all the sides, the bench held that the petitions were maintainable. Earlier, the bench had rejected an adjournment application from the lawyer for the National Party (NP). The bench also rejected Justice Party’s plea to strike down the law that bound new party to give thumb verification of 20,000.

Talking to reporters after the hearing, Dr Farogh Nasim, the counsel for Sheikh Rashid, said that the relevant amendment to the election law was person-specific. He added it was the matter of public importance under Article 9 and 17 of the Constitution.

The court will resume hearing on January 23.

In October, the government blocked the opposition’s move in the National Assembly to prevent a disqualified person from holding office in a political party, and paved the way for Sharif to continue calling the shots in the ruling party.

Imran Khan and Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed have requested the Supreme Court to bar a disqualified person from holding party office. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has also announced its intention to challenge the Elections Act, 2017.

Sardar Latif Khosa, counsel for PPP, told reporters that the main opposition party had the pivotal role in decision-making process. INP

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