ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Tuesday rejected all the three petitions seeking Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification on the basis of his statement in the Parliament regarding the role of Chief of the Army Staff in talks with the protesting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and termed them “political”.
The seven-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk and comprising Justice Jawad S Khawaja, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saed Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Mushir Alam heard three different pleas filed by Ishaq Khakwani of the PTI, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of Pakistan Muslim Leaqgue-Q and Gohar Nawaz Sindhu, President Insaf Lawyers Forum.
During the course of proceedings, Irfan Qadir, counsel for Chaudhry Shujaat and Ishaq Khakwani, argued that the Prime Minister’s statement in the Parliament had been denied by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). The Prime Minister’s speech in the joint session of Parliament on August 29 was also read out in the court.
The bench observed that the Prime Minister had not made a direct reference to the army and had only endorsed the opinion of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
The bench also observed that Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa had not explicitly mentioned the Prime Minister’s name in his tweet and had referred to the government asking the army to play a facilitative role for the resolution of current political crisis in the country.
Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that there was no contradiction in the statements of Interior Minister and Director General of ISPR.
He further stated that as per record the Prime Minister endorsed Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s statement and he would not lie.
It is pertinent to mention here that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had told the Parliament that it was Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, who had requested a meeting with COAS General Raheel Sharif in order to broker a settlement with the government over the political crisis arisen due to the sit-ins in Federal Capital.
The Prime Minister had said that he gave permission to the army chief to engage the two leaders and play the role of a mediator.
The petitioners claimed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had asked Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to act as a “mediator” between the government and PTI and PAT, and serve as a “guarantor” to any agreement with the parties.
They alleged that the Prime Minister had later lied in front of the Parliament and denied making any such request, and should therefore be disqualified under Article 63 of the Constitution.
Justice Jawwad had referred the matter to the Chief Justice for constituting a larger bench to determine “Sadiq and Ameen”.