ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday appointed an amicus curae to examine whether Sumaira Malik, a former parliamentarian, should be allowed to change the counsel in her review petition.

A five-member bench headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali appointed Makhdoom Ali Khan as amicus curae (a friend of the court) to assist the bench regarding changing of counsel in the review petition.

In her review petition Sumaira Malik prayed to the court that she be allowed to change the lawyer as Iftikhar Gilani has refused to represent her. Asma Jilani, who represented the former parliamentarian, contended that her client was awarded political death sentence.

Asma said that Article 10-A of the Constitution gives right of fair trial to every citizen. She further argued that Supreme Court XXVI Rule 6 is in conflict with the Article 10-A, adding if a counsel did not want to represent a litigant anymore then he/she should be allowed to change the lawyer.

A bench headed by former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in October last year had disqualified Sumaira Malik for holding fake degree and had directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to proceed against her in accordance with law.

The court had declared the notification of 01.03.2008, notifying the Sumaira Malik as the returned candidate from NA-69 (Khushab-I) in the general elections held on 18.02.2008, to be void.

Sumera was declared disqualified from becoming MNA with all its consequences. “The court noted that as a disqualified person she has no right to represent the electorate of the country.”

The judgment noted: “On account of such qualification she would not be entitled to contest the election in future as well, and if she does contest elections and is declared successful, the Election Commission shall be bound to de-notify her.”

The judgment noted: “She had obtained BA degree by way of impersonation and depending upon the same educational qualification as it is normally disclosed by the candidates in the nominations papers, she had proved herself not to be truthful person.”

Sumera was elected MNA on the ticket of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) in the 2008 general elections. A losing candidate from the constituency, Malik Umar Aslam Awan, had filed a petition challenging Sumaira Malik’s victory and had alleged that the lawmaker did her intermediate in 1981 and in order to avoid her ineligibility, had managed to obtain a fake BA degree from the University of Punjab.