ISLAMABAD    -    The Supreme Court on Thursday de­clared the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) order, to inform former chief minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz before his arrest in the Saaf Pani, Ramzan Sugar Mills and excess assets case, against the law.

A three-member SC bench headed by Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan heard the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) petition against the LHC order and declared it null and void.

During the course of proceedings, the bench stated that there was no require­ment in the law to inform the accused be­fore the arrest. The order to inform Ham­za ten days before the arrest should not be used as a judicial precedent, he added.

Subsequently, the court disposed of the case on the grounds that the order of the LHC was ineffective.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Thurs­day gave former PTI leader Faisal Vawda an option that could soften his disqualifica­tion sentence if the PTI leader accepted it.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and com­prising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ayesha A Malik heard the petition against Faisal Vawda’s lifetime disqualification from running or hold­ing public office. Faisal Vawda had chal­lenged his lifetime disqualification fol­lowing a verdict issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

During the course of proceedings, the bench remarked that if Vawda confessed to submitting a forged citizenship affida­vit then he would be disqualified for one term; however, if the politician did not, then it would be for a lifetime.

The court also ordered Vawda to bring a certificate proving his renunciation of US citizenship in the next hearing.

The chief justice said that Faisal Vawda should admit his mistake and be disquali­fied under 63(1) C, otherwise the court should proceed with the case under 62(1) F. There was enough material before the court to disqualify Vawda for life, he added.

Advocate Waseem Sajjad counsel for Faisal Vawda argued that the ECP did not have the powers to disqualify his client for a lifetime and it was not a court of law either. The ECP had declared Faisal Vaw­da ineligible to run for any public office in a verdict against the case regarding his knowingly submitting a forged affidavit regarding the status of his US national­ity, he added. The chief justice said that the court ordered the former PTI leader to appear before the Supreme Court and confessed that he changed the date in the dual citizenship certificate.

He said there was enough material be­fore the court that easily proved Faisal Vawda submitted a forged affidavit.

Justice Ayesha A Malik said Islamabad High Court (IHC) had the power to life­time disqualification.

Justice Mansoor asked why could not the Supreme Court disqualify him for life in the light of the evidence available to the court? Faisal Vawda told many lies to cover up one lie, he added. He asked why can’t the Su­preme Court look at the misrepresentation?

The chief justice said that Faisal Vawda also made a false statement before the Supreme Court. He asked why can’t the Supreme Court examine the facts itself?

Justice Ayesha said that there was no question of the jurisdiction of the Elec­tion Commission. The high court also reviewed the facts and gave the deci­sion, she added. She said that voters should know who they were voting for. The counsel said that the apex court should examine the intention of his cli­ent Faisal Vavda. Upon this, Justice Aye­sha remarked that the voter did not see the intention of the candidate but the af­fidavit. It was not necessary to check the intention of Faisal Vawda, the voter was misrepresented, she added