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ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani has rejected a disqualification reference filed against Senator Mushahidullah Khan of the PML-N for allegedly maligning the judiciary and discrediting members of the joint investigation team (JIT) currently probing money-laundering charges against the Sharif family.

Sources in the Senate Secretariat told Dawn that the chairman had rejected the disqualification reference, filed by a civil society activist, on “technical grounds”.

The sources said the Senate chairman was expected to issue a formal order in this regard citing detailed reasons for his decision in the next couple of days.

Mushahidullah Khan was among those eight members of the PML-N against whom president of Armaan Welfare Foundation Amina Malik had filed the disqualification reference under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution in three different legislatures. Besides the Senate chairman, Ms Malik had sent the reference to National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Mohammad Iqbal Khan through her counsel Azhar Siddique seeking disqualification of the members of each respective house on charges of “sabotaging” the judicial process of the Supreme Court-appointed JIT in the Panama Papers case.

The reference jointly addressed to the presiding officers of the three legislatures has sought disqualification of Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of State for Capital Adminis­tration and Development Division Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Parliamentary Secretary for Information Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha and MNAs Daniyal Aziz, Talal Chaudhry and Maiza Hameed and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan.

The applicant alleged that the respondents through their “controversial statements” had targeted the judiciary and the JIT members in a bid “to maneuver the credibility and impartiality of the accountability process”.

Although Ms Malik had also filed separate disqualification references against Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Senator Nehal Hashmi, the list of the eight PML-N members against whom she had filed a single reference remains under discussion in various social and political gatherings in the light of the remarks passed by Supreme Court judge Justice Ijaz-ul Ahsan during the hearing of the Panama Papers case on Monday that eight different people were attacking the JIT members.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2017