ISLAMABAD   -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday issued notices to Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry in a petition seeking his disqualification.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition and besides Fawad, it also issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the law ministry and directed them to submit their responses within two weeks. During the hearing, petitioner’s lawyer adopted before the court that the minster had concealed his assets while submitting his nomination papers to the ECP and he should be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. He added that Fawad did not declare land he owns in Jhelum and therefore, he is not Sadiq and Ameen.

Justice Athar asked: “which person is ‘Sadiq and Ameen’. Such political cases should be resolved on political forums.” The lawyer argued that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen was disqualified on the same ground, to which the chief justice said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Khawaja Asif was also disqualified by the IHC, but later he was reinstated by the Supreme Court.

The petitioner, an anchor for a private TV channel, claimed in his petition that the minister concealed his assets when declaring them to the ECP and hence, he should be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.

“That Respondent No 1 ( Fawad Chauhdry ), with mala-fide intention and ulterior motives, concealed his assets, cost of assets and provided wrong an  false statement of his own and spouses’ assets and their cost in FORM-B( statement of Assets and Liabilities) along with Nomination Papers,” said the petition.

It prayed to the court to disqualify the minister under Article 62 (1) (f) from holding public office as he had not disclosed documents containing his proprietary information. It also requested the court to order lodging of a criminal case against him and withdrawal of all privileges granted to him as a minister.

Besides Fawad, the petitioner also made the ECP, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and others as respondents in his petition.