The Supreme Court on Sunday issued notices to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s former secretary general Jahangir Tareen to appear in the court in person or through their counsel on Tuesday (tomorrow) during the hearing of appeals involving, among other constitutional questions, interpretation of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution under which they both had been disqualified.
The interpretation will help end the controversy about the period of punishment by determining whether disqualification of a number of lawmakers is for life or time-specific.
The notices have been issued by the assistant registrar (fixture) of the SC. The notice to Mr Sharif has been sent through the deputy registrar of the SC’s Lahore registry and the notice to Mr Tareen has been sent to his Islamabad residence.
A five-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah will take up a set of 17 appeals against disqualification of some members of the parliament.
The issue of interpretation of Article 62(1)(f), which has attained significance in view of the disqualification of Mr Sharif — has been pending before the larger bench of the apex court for the past one year.
The last time the matter was taken up was during the period when Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was chief justice. He reached superannuation on Dec 15, 2016.
In one of the hearings, Justice Jamali had wondered how anyone could be disqualified from contesting elections forever on the basis of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, adding that people could reform themselves to become qualified again under the same constitutional provisions after remaining disqualified at some point of time.
Article 62 does not specify any period after which a person, who is declared disqualified under the said article, can be eligible to contest elections of the parliament.
Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was disqualified on June 19, 2012, from holding a seat in the parliament for committing contempt of court under Article 63 of the Constitution, which specifies disqualification for five years.