ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday turned down a petition seeking disqualification of Member National Assembly (MNA) Ali Wazir.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition and dismissed the same after preliminary hearing by terming it as non-maintainable. Petitioner Abul Wali, an undergraduate student of political science and history and belongs to a middle class family of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas moved the petition through Khurram Shehzad Chughtai Advocate and requested the court to declare that the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) is involved in anti-State activities.

The IHC Bench noted in the petition that the petitioner is a private citizen and has invoked the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 199 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 seeking multiple prayers.  It added, “From the assertions made in the memorandum of the petition, it appears that the petitioner is aggrieved on account of activities of respondent No 10 i.e. “Pakhtun Tahafuz Movement” and some statements made by respondent No11 (Ali Wazir).”

 It maintained that the latter had contested the last general elections and was elected to represent the constituency in the National Assembly of Pakistan while the petitioner, in a nutshell, has questioned the loyalty of respondents no.10 and 11 to the State of Pakistan and respondent no. 10 is admittedly not a juridical person.

Bench noted in petition that petitioner is a private citizen and has invoked jurisdiction of this Court under Article 199

 Justice Athar noted: “Nothing has been placed on record to show that on conclusion of a fair trial, a competent Court may have given a declaration regarding loyalty of respondents no.10 and 11 to the State of Pakistan. It is noted that every citizen is presumed to be loyal to the State and a very high onus is required to be discharged by the State to establish beyond reasonable doubt that one of its citizens is not loyal. Moreover, it is not the case of the petitioner that respondents no.10 and 11 have committed an offence and that they be proceeded against.”

He maintained, “The learned counsel for the petitioner has been heard at length. Despite his able assistance, he was not able to persuade this Court that fundamental rights of the petitioner have been violated. The jurisdiction of this Court under article 199 of the Constitution cannot be exercised in order to make roving inquiries. Questioning a citizen’s loyalty to the State is one of the most serious allegations and, therefore, a very high onus is required to be discharged by the State to prove otherwise. Such an allegation cannot be entertained on the basis of opinion formed by a private citizen. It is for this reason that offences in this context require the State to be the complainant. A citizen or a section of the society may find activities or expressive conduct of others as offensive but by no stretch of the imagination would it make the loyalty of a citizen questionable. It is within the exclusive domain of the State to file a complaint before a competent court in the context of offences which are in the nature of disputing loyalty of a citizen.” He added, “For the above reasons, this petition is without merit and, therefore, accordingly dismissed.”

The petitioner prayed to the court to direct the federal government to determine the status of the PTM and declare it an organization involved in anti-national activities.

Wali further sought a directive for the government to investigate alleged unlawful operations and activities by the PTM by exposing its membership, funding and links with elements/entities operating against sovereignty, security and integrity of Pakistan.

He added that the declaration should come while considering the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in a number of earlier judgments as well as under Section 2 (a)(iii) of the Prevention of Anti-National Activities Act, 1974.

The petitioner prayed to the IHC to order the respondents to take cognizance against the PTM and Ali Wazir and restrict, control and censor their publications under the applicable laws in the larger public interest to maintain political, social and public order.

 He also sought a declaration that the alleged acts and deeds of Wazir are in contravention to the interest and integrity of Pakistan for violating Article 5 of the Constitution and the oath of office and also disqualify him in view of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution for his contemptuous remarks against the judiciary. Wali maintained that as an interim relief, the government should provide security to the petitioner.

He contended that being the holder of public office, the MNA is first and foremost fiduciary and trustee for the people of Pakistan and when performing the functions of his office, he should have no interest other than the interests of the people.

Petitioner alleged in the petition that Wazir is taking decisions which are often of grave consequence for the protection of economic, political and over-all national interests of the country.

He added that in other words, there is a fiduciary duty of the highest order and its violations have three legal consequences which are being ignored by the government.