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Wednesday, July 17, 2024  
11 Muharram 1446  

Nawaz Sharif, Jahangir Tareen inch closer to overturning disqualification

Supreme Court Review of Judgements and Orders Act 2023 empowers petitioners to challenge review petitions in 60 days
A combination of file photos of former PTI leader Jahangir Tareen and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. Twitter/AFP
A combination of file photos of former PTI leader Jahangir Tareen and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. Twitter/AFP

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and former PTI leader Jahangir Tareen now have a chance to overturn their disqualifications, with the help of four sections of the Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act 2023.

On the whole, the last four sections of the Act give rights to the aggrieved against whom judgments and orders were made before the commencement of this law provided they file a review petition within 60 days of the commencement of this Act.

The law took effect on Friday, Attorney General Usman Manzoor told the three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial to hear ECP’s petition to revisit the order for Punjab election date..

Once rivals, both leaders were disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) – which sets the precondition for the head of government to be “sadiq and ameen” (truthful and honest) – of the Constitution by the top court.

Nawaz was disqualified from holding public office by the SC in the Panama Papers case in November 2017. The court said that not declaring an asset or defending a trust deed was below the dignity and decorum of the office of the prime minister.

Just a month later, Tareen, a close confidant of PTI Chairman Imran Khan at the time, was disqualified for being “dishonest” in a case related to not declaring their assets to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

What are the four sections?

Right to appoint counsel empowers the review petitioner to appoint any lawyer of the apex court of his choice to challenge the court ruling.

Judgments and orders made prior to commencement of the Act: The right to file a review petition shall also be available to an aggrieved person against whom an order has been made under clause (3) of Article 184, which speaks about the original jurisdiction of the SC, of the Constitution: provided that the review petition under this section shall be filed within sixty days of the commencement of this Act.

Limitation: A review petition may be filed within sixty days of the passing of the original order.

Act to override other law etc: The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, rules or regulations for the time being in force of judgment of any court including the Supreme Court and a High Court.

“Political engineering was done to send Nawaz Sharif home in the Panama case,” Special Assistant to the PM on Accountability Irfan Qadir said at a press conference in Islamabad on Monday.

His presser, which was centered on judiciary and political cases over the past 10 years, was scheduled hours after the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of the review petitions in the Punjab election date case for an indefinite period.

The government told CJP Umar Ata Bandial that a new law allowing review of the suo motu judgments had taken effect, removing the dangers of disqualification for the incumbent government. The absence of law could have sent the ruling alliance home over its inability to implement the SC order on elections of the Punjab Assembly.

“Nowhere does the Constitution say that disqualification will be for life,” said Qadir as he spoke about Nawaz’s case.

Qadir, who served as the AGP in PPP’s tenure, said that former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani’s disqualification and ouster were the biggest violation.

Senior puisne judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa had also expressed his concerns over the past cases.

Without naming the leader at the last Asma Jahangir Conference in Lahore, he said that another prime minister was removed because of contempt of court law as the country has witnessed hanging, assassination, and contempt removal in the past. He was of the view that such a trend does not end here and the country was coming into the “trickier waters” of recent times.

“Now another PM is removed for nondisclosure of notional income which he never receives,” Justice Isa said and refused to comment on the decision. “Mr PM you were entitled to receive a salary, you didn’t receive it and you did not disclose it so you are not a good Muslim so we sent you home,” he said while quoting the judgment.

He was apparently speaking about the verdict that disqualified Nawaz and Gillani from holding public office. The above mentioned judgment was preceded by the Joint Investigation Team—a term with which the judge was unfamiliar and it could only be found in the Anti-Terrorism Act.

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Nawaz Sharif

Supreme Court

Jahangir Tareen