ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will take up the issue of lifetime disqualification of lawmakers tomorrow (Tuesday) which may determine whether Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif will be able to contest the upcoming general elections slated for February 8.
A seven-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, also comprises Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Jamal Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarrat Hilali will hear the matter.
The apex court took notice of contradictions regarding the duration of disqualification in the Election Act, 2017 and a Supreme Court verdict during the hearing of a petition filed by former PML-N provincial lawmaker Sardar Meer Badshah Khan Qaisrani last month.
Qaisrani had challenged his lifetime disqualification over a fake degree in 2007.
During the hearing on December 11 last year, CJP Faez Isa observed that the Supreme Court’s judgment on lifetime disqualification and the amendments made to the Elections Act 2017 could not exist simultaneously.
He had said either the legislation enacted by the parliament to the Elections Act 2017 would prevail or the judgment, delivered by the Supreme Court.
“The issue has to be settled once and for all,” the CJP had remarked and referred the matter to a three-member committee, constituted under Section 2 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 that takes the decision about fixation of cases before benches of the apex court.
The Supreme Court, in a judgment in 2018, had held that any person disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution would be considered disqualified for lifetime.
Later on, the former coalition government of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) made an amendment to the Elections Act 2017, decreasing the legislators’ disqualification to five years, retrospectively.
Former three-time prime minister Nawaz and Istihkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) chief Jahangir Khan Tareen are the only two lawmakers who were disqualified for lifetime.
The Supreme Court disqualified both senior politicians for life in June and December 2017, respectively, after they were found to be “dishonest” under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.