ISLAMABAD - Islamabad High Court judge Justice Athar Minallah Monday recused himself from hearing a constitutional petition seeking abolishment of presidential powers to grant pardon to convicts under Article 45 of the Constitution.  Justice Athar referred the matter to Chief Justice IHC Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi to constitute a new bench in this connection.

In this matter, Khurram Nawaz Gandapur, secretary general Pakistan Awami Tehrik, had moved the court through his counsel Makhdom Niaz Inqilabi and had cited the federation through secretary law, secretary Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), secretary to the President of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Safdar and Captain (R) Safdar as the respondents.

The petition states that Article 45 is against Islamic teachings as Islam did not permit any third person to grant pardon to a convict except the plaintiff or his or her legal heirs while President’s power to pardon a convict is also un-Islamic as it violates Islamic laws of inheritance.

According to the petitioner, the Article 45 should be abolished as this article was against the basic rights and basic structure of the Constitution. He continued that respondents including Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Safdar and Captain (R) Safdar were sentenced to 10 years, 7 years and one year, respectively, by an accountability court. He said that these respondents had already got pardon of their sentence under Article 45 and now, they also intended to get pardon of their present sentence.

The petitioner contended that Article 45 was against Article 227 of Constitution and elaboration and explanation of this article was necessary to make it clear that in which cases and under what circumstances the law of presidential pardon could be applicable.