ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday turned down petitions seeking disqualification of former president Asif Ali Zardari and Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhary as members of the Parliament.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah announced its reserved verdict in the petitions filed by Special Assistant to the PM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar and PTI MPA from Karachi Khurram Sher Zaman, who sought disqualification of Asif Ali Zardari and in another petition challenging the eligibility of Fawad Chaudhary accusing him of not declaring his assets.

The bench said that for reasons to be recorded later, the petitions are dismissed because the court is of the opinion that exercising its extra ordinary discretionary jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 is not in public interest and violative of fundamental rights of the people at large guaranteed thereunder.

Justice Athar noted, “The political parties and citizens are expected to settle political disputes without involving the judicial branch of the state.” He said, “Disqualification of chosen representatives by the judicial branch of the state in exercise of extra ordinary discretionary constitutional powers is likely to cause miscarriage of justice, rather than advancing the cause of justice.”

Previously, the IHC Chief Justice remarked that why the political matters brought before the court while there were already a large number of pending cases of poor people before it.

The bench observed in petition against Fawad Chaudhary that why it should hear the case when the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was already probing the matter. Justice Athar said that he was not talking about case merit as he has yet to study it. He added that why the court should hear cases against elected representatives.

He further said that when the people are electing such leaders, then why the court should interfere in it.

PTI leaders Khurram Sher Zaman, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) Sindh, and Usman Dar filed two identical constitutional petitions against PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari under Article 184(3) of Constitution through their counsel Advocate Sikandar Bashir Mohmand and cited Asif Ali Zardari, Member National Assembly (MNA), Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Secretary National Assembly as respondents.

In their petition, they contended that Asif Zardari is neither honest nor ameen nor righteous nor sagacious in terms of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and also Section 231 of the Election Act. Therefore Respondent No 1 (Asif Zardari) is not qualified to be elected or chosen as a Member of the National Assembly (MNA).

The petitioners prayed to the court to hold and declare that PPP co-chairman is permanently disqualified from being and shall forthwith cease to be MNA. They requested the court to declare that Zardari is not qualified to be elected or chosen or to officiate as or exercise powers of the ‘Party Head’ within the meaning of Article 63A of the Constitution.

Similarly, in the matter of Fawad Chaudhary, the petitioner, an anchor for a private TV channel, claimed in his petition that the minister concealed his assets when declaring them to the Election Commission of Pakistan and hence, should be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.