CJP Bandial Terms Sadiq and Ameen Article 'Draconian'

CJP Bandial Terms Sadiq and Ameen Article 'Draconian'
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has said on Tuesday that Article 62(1)(f), which requires parliamentarians to be 'sadiq and ameen' (honest and righteous), is a 'draconian law'.

The chief justice made the remarks during an appeal filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Faisal Vawda contesting his lifetime disqualification under the article in February this year.

Vawda was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in February for concealing the fact that he is a US citizenship holder, as Pakistan's parliamentary laws require that a person forfeit all other nationalities before running for public office. The ECP had asked Vawda to return his salary and benefits received as an MNA, as well as disqualified him for life under Article 62(1)(f).

The Article in question states that a person cannot be elected or chosen for a seat in Parliament “unless — he is sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law”.

At the Supreme Court hearing today, the CJP said that while the ECP has a right to investigate a false affidavit submitted by a Parliamentarian, the question at hand is whether or not ECP can disqualify somebody for life. “Even if we set aside the ECP’s verdict, the facts will remain the same,” he said, adding that in Vawda's case the assessment of facts by the ECP was correct, but it was the lifetime disbarment that was questionable.