ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Monday rejected former foreign minister Khawaja Asif’s plea to grant stay against the IHC verdict regarding his disqualification as a member of the parliament.

The top court, however, admitted the former foreign minister’s appeal for hearing and issued a notice to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Usman Dar, stating the case requires record of evidence. Khawaja Asif had challenged the Islamabad High Court judgment disqualifying him to be a member of the parliament.  The top court, however, refused to stay the IHC verdict and directed the parties to submit synopsis of their contentions.

A three-judge special bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Umar Atta Bandial and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, took up the appeal for hearing.

The three grounds, according to counsel for Khawaja Asif, Munir A Malik, include Iqama, concealment of salary in the statement of assets and liability at the time of filing nomination papers and non-disclosure of bank accounts.

Malik contended except service charges there were no transactions in a Dubai bank account which was opened on April 15, 2008, and closed on July 7, 2015.

He stated Rs 6.82 million in earning were also declared by his client in his nomination papers, which include 9,000 dirhams, proceeds from the sale of a restaurant in UAE as well as shares of a private firm.

Malik further contended his client disclosed assets and liabilities honestly, adding even the salary of AED 9,000 was recorded in the tax returns filed with the nomination papers and even ‘Iqama’ was clearly recorded along with the name of the employer.

Malik also contended the money already spent could not be defined as an asset, adding there was no accrued salary and whatever his client had received was declared in the nomination papers.

The counsel for the former foreign minister argued Rs 6.82 million did not come out of the blue and his client had knowledge of it when an another election petition was filed against him.

Justice Bandial, however, observed Asif renewed his contract post-cabinet. He further observed if Asif was occupying a public office in government and had concealed his assets, then he would be in trouble.

Justice Banidial asked Bashir Muhmand, counsel for PTI leader Usman Dar, as to how he would contest on malicious concealment. Mohmand argued although Asif did mention his business, he did not declare the salary and the overall amount received through his employment.

At the end of the hearing, Malik requested the bench to grant stay agaisnt IHC’s disqualification verdict until the final judgment by the top court. However, the bench rejected the plea and issued a notice to the respondent on the stay application. The matter was adjourned for two weeks.  Khawaja Asif, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader, was disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution for non-disclosure of his employment in a UAE company and concealment of monthly salary in his nomination papers.

 

 

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