SC to resume hearing petitions against Elections Act 2017 today

SC to resume hearing petitions against Elections Act 2017 today
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ISLAMABAD: A three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar will hear today several petitions challenging the Elections Act 2017.

The Supreme Court has taken up around a dozen petitions against disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif being reelected party president after the passage of the Elections Act.

At the last hearing of the case on January 23, senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khawaja Saad Rafique appeared before the court.

During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that Rafique gives very passionate speeches and should speak for himself in court.

The chief justice also instructed that after the hearing, there will no media talk outside the court.

“Can’t let my institution be used for political gains,” the chief justice had observed. “I don’t watch TV but we get the message on whatever is said about us.”

The chief justice asserted that no one can pressurise the Supreme Court and the institution itself determines its constitutional limits.

Speaking on the occasion, Barrister Farogh Naseem, representing petitioner Sheikh Rasheed, had said that he is pleading disqualification of one person not the annulment of the entire law.

The chief justice responded by saying how can he a person becoming party president be stopped without suspending the law which has allowed him to do it.

Senior PML-N leader Raja Zafarul Haq requested the court to give the government 15 days for the case but the chief justice gave 10 days to the government to prepare the case.

Nawaz's disqualification to Elections Act  

Following Nawaz's disqualification as prime minister in July 2017 in the Panama Papers case, the ruling party managed to amend the Constitution to allow the former premier to retain his chairmanship of the PML-N.

As a result, the Elections Act 2017 was passed by Parliament bringing Nawaz back as the party president despite his disqualification from the National Assembly. 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, MNA Jamshaid Dasti, National Party and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), among others, challenged the law for allowing a disqualified parliamentarian to become a party head.

The petitions, challenging specific clauses of the recently passed Elections Act 2017, state that Nawaz's appointment as party president is in violation of Clause 5 of the Political Parties Order 2002 and Article 17 of the Constitution.APP/AFP

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