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Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif.  --File
Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif. --File

ISLAMABAD: An activist of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Moh­ammad Usman Dar, on Thursday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking disqualification of Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

Mr Asif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz defeated Mr Dar in the 2013 general elections with a margin of over 21,000 votes. Ahead of the 2018 general elections, the petitioner wants the court to permanently disqualify Mr Asif so that he does not contest elections in future.

Mr Dar sought disqualification of Mr Asif under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, alleging that the foreign minister did not declare details of his employment contract with a UAE-based company and also concealed the salary details.

The petition claimed that Mr Asif had been an employee of Mech and Elec Co LLC (IMECL) since 2011 where he was working as a special adviser.

It said that Mr Asif was a full-time employee of IMECL and as per the employment contract his salary was 50,000 UAE dirhams per month.

The petition relied upon the recent definition of the Supreme Court regarding receivable salary, on the basis of which it disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The petition said that Mr Asif was entitled to draw salary which was his receivable asset; however, since he did not declare it in the nomination form while contesting the 2013 general elections from NA-110, he did not qualify to remain a member of the National Assembly.

The petition claimed that Mr Dar had recently learnt about the Iqama (work permit) and salary details of Mr Asif; therefore, he has only now moved the IHC against the minister.

The petition pointed out that the Iqama was renewed on June 29, 2017 and it was valid till June 28, 2019, which established that in spite of being a federal minister, Mr Asif “intends to surreptitiously and secretly continue with his full-time employment with IMECL in violation of his oath of office under the Constitution of Pakistan”.

According to the petition, Mr Asif was not only a full-time employee of the IMECL in 2013 when he was holding the portfolio of the federal minister for water and power, but in the past while the PML-N was in the coalition government of the Pakistan Peoples Party, he was a federal minister till the time his party parted ways with the PPP. He concealed his job and right to receive salary while filing nomination papers for both the terms, it added.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2017