KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan, Sindh Assembly speaker and others on a petition seeking disqualification of Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Jam Awais, who he was pardoned by the legal heirs of Nazim Jokhio for his murder.
Barrister Ali Tahir and his associates moved the SHC stating that the MPA had paid the amount of diyat, or blood money, to minor legal heirs of deceased Nazim Jokhio and it was a form of punishment and admission of guilt and he thus liable to be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) read with Article 113 of the Constitution.
After a preliminary hearing, a two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh and Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed put the respondents as well as federal and provincial law officers on notice for a date to be fixed later by its office.
On Jan 12, an additional district and sessions court (Malir) had exonerated the lawmaker and his four servants after they had reached an out-of-court settlement with the victim’s legal heirs.
The MPA and his servants were facing charges of torturing 26-year-old Jokhio to death at the lawmaker’s farmhouse in Malir on Nov 2, 2021.
Citing the ECP, PA speaker, chief secretary and the PPP lawmaker as respondents, Barrister Tahir contended that on Jan 30, they had sent a legal notice to Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani as it was his constitutional duty to send a reference to the ECP for disqualification of the MPA, who was elected from PS-79 Thatta. However, due to his political expediencies, the same fell on deaf ears, he added.
He argued that the instant writ of quo warranto was filed to question under what authority the lawmaker claimed to hold the office after the factum of having paid diyat.
The petitioners stated that the victim was murdered as he refused to delete footage pertaining to illegal hunting of houbara bustard by lawmaker’s guests in his village. He stated that police did not act due to the influence of the MPA and his MNA brother until the issue was highlighted on social media.
He maintained that the lawmaker was finally exonerated as Jokhio’s legal heirs pardoned him, but he paid compensation to his minor legal heirs.
“Since the respondent No. 1 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,” the petitioner stated.
The court was informed that the Supreme Court in the case of Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan chairman (PLD 2010 SC 695) had held that diyat was one of the forms of punishment as specified in Section 53 of PPC.
The court was asked to declare that the MPA was not “Sadiq and Ameen” in terms of Article 62(1)(f) and issue directive to the speaker to immediately process the reference of disqualification to the ECP.
Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2023