Pak HC disqualifies Khawaja Asif from parl over UAE work permit

27 April, 2018, 12:05 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Dar had sought disqualification of Asif alleging that the foreign minister did not declare details of his employment contract with a UAE-based company and also concealed the salary details

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday ousted Foreign Minister Khawaja M. Asif, disqualifying him for concealing his foreign income and "Iqama" of a Gulf country. The bench unanimously ruled that Asif has been disqualified as per Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution.

Last year, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as the prime minister in the Panama Papers case after the Supreme Court concluded that he was not "honest and righteous" as he failed to declare in 2013 a salary he got from the company of his son in the UAE.

Mohammad Usman Dar, an activist of Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had previous year, filed a petition seeking disqualification of Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for allegedly hiding his employment with a company in the UAE.

Leading up to the verdict, Sharif's counsel - Khawaja Harris - had conceded before the court that Hassan Nawaz, the prime minister's younger son, was the owner of Capital FZE and Sharif its chairman.

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Asif will be unable to hold public or party office for life after the verdict.

The court said that it was not a pleasant duty for any court to asked to exercise its powers of judicial review and dismiss an elected representative.

Despite several rulings against the PML-N, the party has won a string of recent by-elections, proving it will likely remain a force in the next polls.

Asif - who had earlier served as the country's minister of defence - was found guilty of failing to declare several work permits in the United Arab Emirates, a violation of Pakistan's election laws. He also said that he has already informed Election Commission about the Iqama.

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The PTI members and leaders in their messages on social media termed the court's decision a result of Mr Asif's bad-mouthing against the PTI leaders. "I never concealed my Iqama", he told the anchor.

Meanwhile, speaking to a news channel Khwaja Asif said he would challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court. He was appointed the foreign minister in 2017.

During the hearing, Asif had submitted a letter from the company that he was not full time employee and only worked as a consultant whose presence was not needed in the UAE, where the company is based.

Earlier in the afternoon, Justice Athar Minallah while heading a three-member bench of the IHC disqualified Khawaja Asif as a member of the Parliament under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution.

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