Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday said that there is a proper method to ask for forgiveness and that one has to first accept their dishonesty in order to be forgiven.
The remarks were made as five-judge Supreme Court bench took up the matter of whether a lawmaker disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution is disqualified from becoming a member of the parliament for life or for a certain time period.
The bench headed by Justice Nisar also includes senior justices Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Umar Ata Bandial, Ijazul Ahsan and Sajjad Ali Shah.
During the hearing, Kamran Murtaza, the lawyer for Mir Abdul Ghafoor Lehri — a former lawmaker who was disqualified by the SC in 2013 after failing to produce his BA degree before the court — argued that Article 62 and Article 63 should be read and examined together.
According to Article 62(1)(f), the lawmaker will be disqualified for one term, he said, adding that the disqualified person can contest the next by-polls.
In the previous hearing of the case, the chief justice had wondered whether a person who has been disqualified by the court can contest by-polls, given that they are held in the three months after the court's disqualification verdict.
"We have to see what the time limit on the declaration is," the chief justice said while referring to the declaration of honesty that anyone who wishes to contest the election signs.
"Until the declaration (of honesty) remains, the individual's dishonesty will stand," Justice Saeed said, to which the chief justice replied that the bench is supposed to determine the time period of how long the declaration will last.
During his argument, the lawyer also pointed out that the concept of forgiveness also exists within the law.
"My client has asked for forgiveness," Murtaza said, to which the chief justice responded by saying that anyone who seeks forgiveness should appear before the court.
"In disqualification cases, forgiveness is sought through curse words," Justice Saeed remarked in reply to the lawyer's argument. "How can there be forgiveness if abuses are being hurled publicly?"
"There is a method of seeking forgiveness as well. First, one must accept his or her mistake. They have to accept their dishonesty before the public," Justice Nisar pointed out while adding that there are some people out there who say they did nothing wrong and that injustice was done to them.
He added: "I am not speaking about anyone, specifically. I am commenting on your (Mustafa's) statements about forgiveness."
During the hearing, the chief justice pointed out that all political parties decided to keep Article 62(1)(f) intact when the 18th Amendment was made to the Constitution.
To this, Murtaza replied: "The parliament did not make any changes because of the fear of religious elements."
"You mean the Parliament got scared? The Parliament is supreme," the chief justice remarked.
"We saw what happened in the Faizabad protest," the lawyer said in response.
The hearing was adjourned till Thursday, February 8.