IHC larger bench to hear petition against Kh Asif

Disqualification plea

ISLAMABAD - The chief justice of the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday constituted a new larger bench for hearing of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Usman Dar’s petition seeking disqualification of Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for allegedly concealing his Iqama.

The new three-member larger bench of the IHC comprise Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.

Earlier, the larger bench was dissolved after Justice Miangul Hassan recused himself from hearing of the petition moved by the PTI leader Usman Dar.

Now, the new larger bench would take up this matter on April 5 for further proceedings.

Previously, Usman Dar’s counsel Sikandar Bashir submitted some additional documents raising seven points seeking disqualification of Khawaja Asif.

Earlier, in his reply submitted to the court, the federal minister had stated that the petitioner had already exhausted all remedies up to the Supreme Court.

He also prayed to the court that it might consider in the first instance whether it would be fit, proper and appropriate to dismiss the petition against him.

In this matter, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader, Usman Dar, has sought disqualification of the federal minister for foreign affairs on the grounds that Khawaja Asif had concealed the facts that he was an Iqama holder, legal adviser of a company in the UAE and his recent labour card was issued on June 29, 2017.

Petitioner Muhammad Usman Dar has moved the petition through his counsel Sikandar Bashir Advocate and nominated Khawaja Asif, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and secretary National Assembly as respondents.

Dar stated that he was a candidate for the National Assembly seat in 2013 general elections from NA-110 Sialkot on the PTI ticket.

Petitioner’s counsel mentioned in the petition that on the basis of the information and facts that have recently become known to the petitioner and the documents bearing signatures and photographs of the Respondent No 1 (Khawaja Asif) available with him, he considered it his national duty and lawful obligation to institute a petition under Article 199(1)(b)(ii) against the Respondent No 1 as, it is submitted, he is not entitled to hold the office of the MNA nor that of federal minister as he is disqualified under the Constitution.

Therefore, Dar requested the court to initiate quo-warranto inquisitorial proceedings in this regard requiring the respondent to explain that under what authority of law he was holding public office.

In his petition, Dar said that Khawaja Asif was a full-time employee of an Abu Dhabi-based company Int Mech & Elec Co. LLC (IMECL) and was continuously employed since July 2, 2011.

The petitioner has attached some documents with the petition on the basis of which he claimed that Khawaja Asif was a full-time salaried employee of the company on various positions including “legal adviser” and “special adviser”.

The petitioner said that against his employment, Asif was entitled to receive 35,000/- UAE Dirham as salary and 15,000 AED as monthly allowances that was being received and currently receivable.

He contended that Asif never disclosed this source of income in Pakistan consequently he was no more “Sadiq” and “Ameen”.

Before his recent employment Asif had also been an “Iqama” holder previously from May 9, 2007 till May 8, 2010.

The UAE Ministry of Labour also issued “labour card” to Asif on June 29, 2017, whose validity is till June 28, 2019.

In his nomination papers for 2013 general elections, Asif mentioned his occupation as a businessman, while the employment contract reveals another story, the petition said.

He argued that the respondent intentionally concealed this information from the public, from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in his tax returns and in violation of Representation of People Act (ROPA) 1976.

The petitioner said that Khawaja Asif had disclosed in his wealth statement an amount of Rs6,820,964 as foreign remittance but that could not be related as Asif did not mentioned this amount as salary.

Therefore, the PTI leader prayed to the court to disqualify Khawaja Asif as Member of the National Assembly under Article 62 and ROPA 1976.


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