PML-N leader Khawaja Asif on Wednesday challenged the Islamabad High Court's (IHC) verdict announced last week — that led to the now former foreign minister's disqualification as a member of the parliament — in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
A three-member special bench had disqualified Asif as a lawmaker under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution for not disclosing his employment in a UAE company as an occupation as well as the monthly salary he was receiving.
“Respondent [Khawaja Asif] was not qualified to contest the general election of 2013 from NA-110 as he did not fulfil the conditions described under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, read with Section 99(1)(f) of the Act of 1976,” the IHC bench — comprising Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani — had declared.
Asif, admitting that he was unable to declare his foreign bank account in the nomination papers "unintentionally", accused the petitioner, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)'s Usman Dar, of hiding facts from the court.
The former minister, through his lawyer, argued that he had not concealed his foreign bank account intentionally while submitting his nomination forms for the 2013 general elections. The IHC declared the mistake a "dishonesty" without any evidence, he added.
Given that not mentioning the deactivated account was a mistake, the IHC judgement should be declared null and void and the notification issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan should be withdrawn, he contended.
The PML-N leader further argued in his petition that he had kept an amount in the bank account which equates to only 0.5 per cent value of his declared assets. He also said that he had already declared the bank account and iqama before the petition against him was filed.
The local and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) laws were not considered in the verdict, he claimed, adding that the IHC decision was based on assumptions.
Hours after the IHC verdict, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had formally de-notified Asif as a member of the National Assembly.
The appeal also asked that the ECP notification should be made void.