ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has reserved its verdict in the crucial lifetime disqualification case, a judgment that will decide whether lawmakers’ ineligibility to contest polls is for life or five years as per the amended Election Act 2017, in alignment with Article 62(1)(F).
The hearing, broadcast live on the apex court’s website and YouTube channel, resumed today, addressing contradictions in the duration of disqualification. The case originated from a petition filed by former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) provincial lawmaker Sardar Meer Badshah Khan Qaisrani challenging his lifetime disqualification over a fake degree in 2007.
The seven-member bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Isa, presided over the proceedings. In a previous hearing, CJP Isa remarked that a lifetime disqualification from parliament was “against Islam,” emphasizing the need for clarity on whether the disqualification period was five years, as per the 2017 amendment, or a lifetime ban under Article 62(1)(F).
In today’s hearing, CJP Isa stated that the court would focus on matters related to constitutional interpretation, not individual election cases. Jahangir Tareen’s lawyer, Advocate Makhdoom Ali Khan, argued that the declaration of disqualification should come from the civil court. The discussion also touched upon the implementation of Article 62(1)(F) before or after elections.
CJP Isa urged the lawyer not to limit the discussion to a specific part of the Constitution and to provide a broader constitutional context. Questions were raised about the stringent test for parliamentarians, and the lawyer clarified that a person sentenced for fraud could contest polls after serving the sentence.
The case’s outcome will impact the political futures of several politicians, including Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen. The Supreme Court previously held in 2018 that anyone disqualified under Article 62(1)(F) would be considered disqualified for a lifetime.
However, an amendment to the Elections Act 2017 by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) reduced disqualification to five years retrospectively. The fate of Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen, both disqualified for life in 2017, depends on the current case’s verdict.