Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that he will not be party in the proceedings of a case which seeks to determine the time period of disqualification of a holder of public office under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.
A five-member bench of the apex court ─ headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah ─ has taken up 17 appeals against the disqualification of lawmakers.
Article 62(1)(f), which sets the precondition for a member of parliament to be “sadiq and ameen” (honest and righteous), had provided the grounds for the disqualification of the former premier from holding public office in the July 28, 2017, judgement on the Panama Papers case handed down by the apex court.
In a response submitted to the apex court today, the ex-PM said that he had decided not to participate in the court proceedings after consulting leaders of the PML-N. He recalled that time to hold the consultations had been sought from ─ and granted ─ by the SC when his lawyer had appeared before the bench on January 31.
The former premier noted in his reply that the matter ─ one of “far-reaching consequences relating to the body politic of the country” ─ has been taken up by the court on the “motion of many other aggrieved parties”.
He added that his participation in the case may bring “prejudice” to the proceedings.
Nawaz also said that if he had decided to participate in the proceedings, he would have asked Justice Saeed and Justice Ahsan to recuse themselves from the case as they had served on the bench that disqualified him in the Panama Papers case.
It is pertinent to mention that four of the judges hearing the case, excluding Justice Shah, have given either observations or judgements in the Panama Papers case.