KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly speaker was on Monday asked to send a reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan for disqualification of Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Jam Awais who was recently pardoned in the Nazim Jokhio murder case by victim’s legal heirs.

In a legal notice addressed to Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, Barrister Ali Tahir & company was of the view that the MPA had paid the amount of ‘diyat’, or blood money, which was a form of punishment and admission of guilt, to minor legal heirs of the deceased.

The notice stated that the high court and Supreme Court would be approached for disqualification if the speaker failed to process the same within 14 days.

On Jan 12, a sessions court had exonerated the lawmaker and his four guards after they had reached an out-of-court settlement with the victim’s legal heirs.

The lawmaker and his guards were facing the charges of torturing 26-year-old Jokhio to death at the lawmaker’s farmhouse in Malir on Nov 2, 2021.

The notice further stated that it was the constitutional duty of the speaker to send a reference to the ECP for disqualification of the MPA, who was elected from PS-79 Thatta.

Payment of blood money to heirs is a form of punishment and admission of guilt, Durrani told

“Since the MPA sought to be disqualified has paid the amount of diyat, which is a form of punishment under Section 53 of the Pakistan Penal Code, therefore he has made an admission of guilt and is liable to be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) read with Article 113 of the Constitution,” it added.

The legal notice further stated that the Supreme Court in the case of chairman of the Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan (PLD 2010 SC 695) had held that ‘diyat’ was one of the forms of punishment as specified in Section 53 of the PPC.

Barrister Tahir told Dawn that his firm had sent the notice in personal capacity and will also approach the higher judiciary if the process for disqualification was not completed within two weeks.

When asked about the locus standi to move the court, he was of the view that there was no prohibition in law to file a quo warranto petition (a plea questioning the authority of a public office holder).

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2023

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