ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Thursday observed that action will be taken against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif if it is proved that he has violated his oath by lying in the Parliament about his meeting with Army Chief General Raheel Sharif.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja heard petitions filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Ishaq Khan Khakwani and a lawyer Gohar Nawaz Sindhu seeking disqualification of PM Nawaz Sharif.

Three petitioners are seeking the premier’s disqualification under Article 62 (f) of the Constitution - contending that he had recently given a ‘false statement’ in the National Assembly regarding the involvement of the army chief in negotiating with the leaders of protest camps currently set up in Islamabad.

The court said the whole Parliament will be disqualified if it accepts the plea of the petitioner regarding the “Sadiq and Ameen” issue. It further said the court now will not allow the petitioner to take back the petition. One of the petitioners told the court he would not take back his petition even if he is “cut into pieces”.

The court however observed that without tangible evidence it would be difficult to decide the case as the meeting between COAS and the PM took place behind the closed door and only Gen Raheel could tell the court what transpired in meeting with the prime minister. The court also said PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri also held closed door meetings with General Raheel.

Justice Dost Muhammad said: “Prima facie everything (meeting between COAS and PM and COAS and PTI & PAT leaders) was done behind the closed door therefore unless the tangible evidence is before us it is very difficult for the court to decide this case.” He inquired from petitioner Sindhu if he would like to produce General Raheel Sharif or his affidavit about the meeting before the court, as it was the primary evidence in this case.

Sindhu told that the ISPR had issued statement in that regard. Upon that the judge further asked whether General Raheel would appear before the court as a witness. He said they have to do justice therefore the main person in the case is COAS who could negate or accept the version of prime minister in the parliament.

The bench inquired from the petitioners whether the PM-COAS meeting was held in English or Urdu, and directed them to provide its record. It observed that there were certain factors of disqualification of a member of the parliament; and unless court of jurisdiction convicts a member, he could not be disqualified. Justice Dost said prima facie the joint session had reposed full confidence in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said if the PM was not Sadiq and Ameen then the parliamentarians, who reposed confidence in the PM should also be disqualified.

Justice Jawwad said the petition was filed after reading a report in the newspapers but now the matter will not stop here and everyone concerned will have to come to the court and record statements. Sindhu said the matter will not go that far. However, Justice Jawwad said facts will be ascertained now. He told the petitioner that the nation should be thankful to him for brining the matter to the court. Justice Jawwad said it should also be ascertained what discussion took place between Imran Khan and the army chief. “We will get to the bottom of the issue,” he remarked.

Contrary to the PTI leader contention that Justice Jawwad S Khawaja should recuse from the bench, another petitioner Gohar Sindhu expressed complete confidence in Justice Jawwad and said: “He (Justice Jawwad) is the fit judge to hear this case.” During the proceeding Sindhu extensively argued his case. He said he wrote to National Assembly speaker for disqualification of PM Nawaz, but he rejected his reference.

The court asked the petitioners whether in view of Article 62, 63, 66 and 69 of the Constitution the petitions were maintainable and the apex court has jurisdiction to hear this case. The petitioner relied upon Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution and urged the court to disqualify the PM on the basis of this article. The court observed as the petitioner has referred to 18th Amendment version of the said Article therefore he is directed to submit amended petition by including amended version of Article 63(1)(g). The hearing was adjourned until October 16.