Asif given time to file reply in disqualification case

ISLAMABAD: A larger bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday granted more time to Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for filing a reply over a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), seeking his disqualification under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

The bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb had issued the notices to Asif, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the secretary National Assembly with directions to submit replies and para-wise comments in the case.

When the case was taken up, the counsel for Asif submitted a power of attorney and sought time for filing a reply in the case. He said Asif was abroad and needed more time to submit the reply. Subsequently, the bench directed him to file the reply by November 13.

Khawaja Asif had not just one but three Iqamas

The bench issued notices and sought reply on the petition filed by PTI’s Usman Dar, who contested against Asif in the 2013 general election on NA-110 seat. Dar’s counsel argued that Asif should be disqualified as he hid the fact of holding an Iqama, or work permit, in his nomination papers.

The petitioner, through his counsel Sikandar Bashir Mohmand, nominated Asif, the ECP, and the NA secretary as respondents and sought relief under Article 199(1)9b)(ii) read with Article 63(1)(f).

During the previous hearing, the counsel argued that in his nomination papers, Asif mentioned himself as a businessman whereas his Abu Dhabi Iqama proved that he was and still is an employee of a company in a different capacity.

The counsel said Asif was not entitled to hold the office of an MNA or that of a federal minister under the ‘Unlimited Term Employment Contract’ between him and the International Mechanical & Electrical Company (IMECL), a limited liability company located in Abu Dhabi and existing under the UAE’s laws.

He claimed that Asif “has been continuously employed as a full time, salaried employee of IMECL since at least 2-7-2011” and held various positions, including that of ‘Legal Adviser’ and ‘Special Adviser’. Asif, he added, was to receive a monthly basic salary of AED35,000 along with monthly allowance of AED15,000, making the aggregated payment of AED50,000 per month.

“[This amount] is currently being received by, and to which the Respondent No. 1 [Asif] is entitled [as a receivable and assets] whilst acting as the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and MNA from NA-110,” said the counsel.

He added the salary and allowances amounting to Rs17,211,816 per annum at the prevailing current exchange rate have never been properly and specifically disclosed in Pakistan by Asif, “betraying his dishonest intent and non-ameen and non-righteous character”.

He said the documents attached with the petition regarding Asif’s employment period in the UAE reveal that he remained a fulltime employee at the IMECL since 2011 (or even before that time) till date.

The documents prove that the latest ‘Labour Card’ from the Ministry of Labour of the UAE was issued on 29-6-2017 and is stated to have an expiry date of 28-6-2019.

Iqama allegation: Larger IHC bench to hear Asif’s disqualification case

“This, inter alia, establishes that in spite of being the foreign minister and MNA, Asif intends to surreptitiously and secretly continue with his fulltime employment with IMECL, in violation of his oath, his obligation of fidelity and no conflict to the office of the federal minister and his continuing obligation under the provisions of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution,” he added.

The counsel argued that Asif has secretly been a fulltime, salaried employee of an ‘offshore company’ from which he was, and is, entitled to receive substantial salary and allowances.

“Such an individual is not fit to lawfully continue to hold the office of Federal Minister or of MNA,” he said. In the wealth statements, he added, Asif failed to declare the actual balance of each account.

He requested the court to declare that Asif is neither of good character in terms of Article 62(1)(d), inter alia, nor is honest, righteous or sagacious. He asked the court to declare him ineligible for holding a public office.

The post Asif given time to file reply in disqualification case appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Source: Tribune News | Asif given time to file reply in disqualification case

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