Supreme Court Reserves Verdict on Lifetime Disqualification Case

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has reserved its verdict in the crucial case regarding the lifetime disqualification of politicians under Article 62(1)(f). Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, leading a seven-member larger bench, expressed skepticism about the constitutional provision, emphasizing the absence of clarity on lifetime disqualification. The court aims to provide clarity before the upcoming general elections on February 8.

Chief Justice Isa remarked that the clauses related to disqualification were added during martial law, and their presence remained unchanged during democratic rule. He questioned the notion of lifetime disqualification, stating that mistakes on nomination papers should not lead to a candidate’s lifetime ineligibility.

During Thursday’s proceedings, the chief justice noted that debates on the powers of election tribunals and the Election Commission were not pertinent to the issue at hand. He stressed the importance of differentiating between political matters and national issues, clarifying that individual matters would be addressed by another bench in the following week.

The court sought clarity on whether the wisdom of five judges could override the legislation of 326 parliamentarians. Chief Justice Isa questioned the provision for lifetime disqualification, stating that it was against Islam. He expressed concern about amendments made during martial law and questioned the court’s authority to introduce lifetime disqualification.

The case has significant implications, especially considering the approaching general elections. The court aims to prevent confusion for returning officers and ensure a clear understanding of the law they need to follow. The verdict is expected to bring clarity to the interpretation of Article 62(1)(f) and its application to lifetime disqualification.

In related developments, the Supreme Court Bar Association’s lawyer, Ali Imran, announced the withdrawal of their case, expressing support for the Election Act and the five-year disqualification provision. The hearing has been adjourned for Friday prayers, with the court expected to announce its verdict soon.