24 July, 2014 / Ramazan 25, 1435

PESHAWAR, May 22: A writ petition was filed before the Peshawar High Court on Wednesday against the statement of former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif that he would hold talks with the militants, requesting the court to declare that no person could engage in negotiations with any private army.

The petition, filed by freelance journalist Shahid Orakzai, requested the court to declare that Mr Sharif’s inclination to come to table with a private army belied his allegiance to Pakistan.

The petitioner stated that immediately after his party’s election victory, Mr Sharif invited the Indian prime minister to attend his oath-taking ceremony and did so without the approval of the President of Pakistan who was to conduct the oath. He contended that the promotion of good neighbourly relations was not a higher constitutional priority than the preservation of Islamic ideology of Pakistan.

The petitioner requested the court to instruct the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to inquire into Nawaz Sharif’s relationship with the private army at war with Pakistan and give a ruling on his qualification to be elected as an MNA.

He has also requested the court to allow him interim relief by restraining the ECP from notifying the return of Mr Sharif or suspend such a notification until decision on this petition. The respondents in the case are Mian Nawaz Sharif and the ECP through its secretary.

The petitioner has raised several points asking whether any member of the National Assembly can review or revise any state policy without taking any oath under the Constitution. He questioned whether any member-elect of the National Assembly could assume control and command of the armed forces or dictate a ceasefire before assuming the office of prime minister. He asked whether any member-elect of the National Assembly could hold talks with a private army in contravention of Article 256 of the Constitution.

The petitioner alleged that in his campaign to recapture power Mr Sharif channeled money to rebels in South Waziristan where after he was nominated as one of the three “guarantors” for proposed talks with the federal government and the armed forces.

He claimed that Mr Sharif’s eagerness to compromise with India and make peace with rebels could cause tension in the rank and file of the armed forces, which seemed disturbed by proclamations that they were fighting America’s war.

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