ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif was today disqualified from holding public office for life by the high court here for concealing details of his UAE work permit while contesting polls in 2013, in another major blow to the ruling PML-N party ahead of the general elections.
In an unanimous verdict, a three-member special bench of the Islamabad High Court ruled that Asif was not “truthful” and “honest” and disqualified him under Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution.
“We declare that the respondent (Asif) was not qualified to contest the General Election of 2013 from NA-110 as he did not fulfill the conditions described under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution,” the bench ruled.
Article 62, which sets the precondition for a member of parliament to be “sadiq and ameen” (honest and righteous), is the same provision under which former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified on July 28, 2017, in the Panama Papers case.
The petition against 68-year-old Asif was filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Usman Dar, seeking his disqualification for holding an Iqama (work permit) of the UAE.
Dar who lost election against Asif in 2013 had challenged the qualification of Asif as the member of parliament for not declaring his job and salary in the UAE while contesting the polls.
Asif will be unable to hold public or party office for life after the verdict.
“It is not a pleasant duty for any court to be called upon to examine and exercise powers of judicial review which may lead to an elected representative being disqualified as Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament),” the bench said.
Asif is one of the top leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and his disqualification is considered as another huge blow to the party ahead of election scheduled to be held after June.