Sharif is fully qualified to contest election, says his lawyer

December 25th, 2007 - 12:01 pm ICT by admin  

Lahore, Dec 25 (ANI): Nawaz Sharifs counsel Akram Sheikh has rejected Attorney-General Malik Muhammad Qayyums view that the former Prime Minister is permanently disqualified from contesting elections because of his conviction in the plane hijacking case
Sheikh said that Sharif is fully qualified to contest the election, but he had opted not to approach the judges who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).
“Keeping in view the Constitution as interpreted by our Supreme Court and the global jurisprudence, Sharif is absolutely qualified to contest the elections,” Sheikh said.
“Sharif has opted not to approach the judges who had taken oath under PCO. Therefore, he opted to stay within the ring. Otherwise, there are no fetters on his legal character to contest the present or future elections,” he added.
He said that Sharifs nomination papers were rejected on December 3, 2007, despite the fact that they were accepted for the 2002 elections when the former Prime Minister was in Saudi Arabia.
“Admittedly, the conviction by the accountability court with regard to Sharif is before Aug 21, 2002, (date of promulgation of LFO 2002) it is July 22, 2000. Hence, this disqualification being ex post facto law would not be attracted. At the time of his conviction, the only disqualification attracted to him was as provided by sub article (l). The conviction is a past and closed transaction,” Sheikh said.
Thus, in the guise of retrospective legislation (prohibited by Article 12 of the Constitution) promulgated after the date of conviction, Sharif could not be said to be disqualified, he claimed.
Sheikh said that this was a settled law in Pakistan that pardon granted under Article 45 was absolute and it washed the effects of convictions. Also, he said, it could not be regulated by sub-constitutional considerations.
He said that Shahbaz Sharif is also qualified to take part in the elections.
Earlier, Qayyum had said that Nawaz Sharif stands permanently disqualified for any public office on account of the so-called conviction in the hijacking case.
He said Shahbaz is not a convict even though there are cases pending against him.
Qayyum said Nawazs nomination papers had been rejected due to his conviction while those of Shahbaz were rejected for his alleged involvement in the extra-judicial killings in 1998, the Dawn reported. (ANI)

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