ISLAMABAD - One month ahead of General Elections 2018, the Supreme Court will announce the fate of Awami Muslim League Chief Sheikh Rasheed as to whether he is qualified or disqualified to become a member of the Parliament. The top court will announce its judgment on an appeal seeking disqualification of AML Chief Sheikh Rasheed today (Wednesday).

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed on March 20 had reserved its judgment on an appeal filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Shakeel Awan who lost the 2013 general election from the constituency NA-55 Rawalpindi. The other members of the bench are Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.

Awan while challenging the election tribunal’s verdict, wherein it had dismissed the election petition regarding concealment of assets in favour of Sheikh Rasheed, had taken the plea that the AML President had concealed his real assets worth millions of rupees in his nomination papers.

The counsel for Awan had contended that Rasheed produced two declarations regarding his income tax, adding he admitted agricultural tax in the first declaration while another declaration contradicted the first one.

He further contended that Rasheed made false declaration regarding price of his residential house No. 40 Golf City Bahria Town and declared its price as Rs102,00,000 while its price was Rs480,00,000 at the time of booking and its market value at the time of filing of nomination papers was Rs6,00,00,000.

He contended that Rasheed in his income tax returns of 2012 declared rent-money and bank profit as his source of income, adding the amount of tax paid and assets were not in conformity.

Similarly, he contended that Rasheed provided a false information of his agricultural land in returns of 2010-11 that he owned 983 kanals 17 marlas while it was the 1,083 kanals and 12 marlas.

Counsel for the PML-N’s leader had contended that the case was not about tax but it was about concealment of assets under Representation of Peoples Act (RoPA) 1976, wherein all the assets were required to be disclosed. The counsel said that the instant case was similar in nature to Panama Case.

It was further contended that tribunal’s judgment was the result of misreading, non-reading, mis-appreciation of evidence and misapplication of law on the subject. It was prayed that the election tribunal’s case be set aside and Rasheed be disqualified from being Member of Parliament.

In response, the counsel for Sheikh Rasheed had informed the bench that his client had never concealed assets and the petitioner submitted incomplete documents, adding the agricultural land was disclosed.

The discrepancy was due to an error in the calculation of assets and there was no mala fide intention, said the counsel for Sheikh Rasheed. He further contended that the top court had given verdicts on concealment of assets and Sheikh Rasheed had never concealed anything rather it was a mistake.

During the last day of proceedings on March 20, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, another member of the bench, made noticeable remarks stating that the Panama Case was filed on Sharif Family’s London flats while verdict was given on an Iqama.

He had further observed that if the principle of ‘strict liability’ was proved in the Panama Case verdict then Sheikh Rasheed may also be disqualified.