LAHORE - Former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry through his political party has filed a constitutional petition in the Lahore High Court to seek disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as member of the parliament.

The Justice and Democratic Party, headed by former Chief Justice Iftikhar Ch, through Sardar Umar Farooq has enlisted Nawaz Sharif, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and the Election Commission of Pakistan among the respondents to the petition. The petitioner is principally aggrieved of the decision taken by the Speaker on reference moved by the former CJP against PM Nawaz.

The speaker had dismissed as not maintainable all references moved against the prime minister on the basis of Panama Leaks revelations wherein the prime minister children were named as running offshore companies with the money allegedly not declared to the tax authorities and their assets abroad. The movers alleged the offshore companies and properties abroad formed assets of the Sharifs, which the PM should have declared to the Election Commission and the tax authorities. 

One of the references was filed by Justice Iftikhar Ch whose restoration to the office had come about through the mass mobilisation on March 13, 2009 led by Nawaz Sharif as head of the PML-N. The leadership of the PML-N since then has been taking great pride in its efforts towards restoration of the judges, including chief justice, who were sacked by military-president Pervez Musharraf in March 2007 and could not be put back to the office despite commitment made by the then Zardari-led PPP government. Later the PPP government had accused Justice Ch-led judiciary of favouring the Sharifs.

The petition advocated by Hamid Khan, Sheikh Ahsan Din and others has questioned Speaker’s ruling in favour of Sharif terming the same as contrary to the constitution, law and the decisions of the Superior judiciary. It alleges the Speaker did not address at least 15 questions set in the reference and those on which he ruled, deviated from the actual context of the matter.

The petitioner says the speaker while dealing with the reference, had overstepped his authority by exercising judicial powers and decided the issue which fell in the jurisdiction of the Election Commission while, he, under the law, was obliged to put the same before the EC only after prima facie making his mind on it.

Citing authorities of the Supreme Court, the petitioner argues, a person is bound to prove his innocence when his relation by any means, is associated with the resources amassed illegally. On this plain, it says, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif needed to disclose the source of his money when the foreign assets of his family had become an admitted fact. The petitioner contends in light of the SC decision the issue of Terms of Reference for Panama inquiry would have also been solved automatically as it would have become legal binding on the PM to establish conformity in the sources of his assets and that of his other family members. Any illegality about the source of income, it contends, is impeachable under the electoral law of the land but the speaker overlooked this aspect.

The petitioner has also annexed details of the assets declared by the respondent in the nomination papers in the last elections to argue that any discrepancy about the same is assailable under the law.

In the voluminous 460-page petition, the petitioner has annexed many documents alleging money laundering and financial and administrative irregularities in the exercise of discretionary powers of the respondent. In a bid to make out case that under Article 63 (2) of the Constitution Nawaz stands disqualified, the petitioner contends, the respondent established properties outside the country (London) but he did not declare them before the competent authorities.

The petitioner grieved against the speaker also on the point that he played a partisan role and put objection to the reference and sent it back.