ISLAMABAD - A larger bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) deferred hearing on a plea of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Usman Dar, seeking disqualification of Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for not declaring details of his employment contract with a UAE-based company and also concealing his salary.
A three-member IHC larger bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted the hearing of the petition and directed the respondents to submit para-wise comments on the petition.
During the hearing, Khawaja Asif’s counsel submitted an application seeking time to submit a reply as his client was out of the country.
The court directed him to submit the reply and adjourned the hearing till November 13.
The PTI leader has sought disqualification of Asif on the grounds that he had concealed the facts that he was an Iqama holder, legal adviser of a company in UAE and his recent labour card was issued on June 29.
Dar has moved the petition through his counsel Sikandar Bashir advocate and nominated Asif, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the secretary National Assembly as respondents.
Dar has contended that he was a candidate for the National Assembly seat from NA-110 Sialkot in 2013 general election on a PTI ticket.
The petitioner’s counsel mentioned that on the basis of the information and facts that have recently become known to the petitioner and the documents bearing signatures and photographs of the respondent No1 (Asif) available with him, he considered it his national duty and lawful obligation to institute a petition under Article 199(1)(b)(ii) as he was not entitled to hold the office of an MNA nor that of the federal minister as he was disqualified under the Constitution.
Dar has requested the court to initiate quo-warranto inquisitorial proceedings in this regard requiring the respondent to explain that under what law he was holding the public office.
The petitioner said that Asif is a full-time employee of the Abu Dhabi-based company, Int Mech & Elec Co LLC (IMECL) and has continuously been employed since July 2, 2011.
The petitioner has attached some documents with the petition claiming that Asif remained a full-time salaried employee of the company on various positions including ‘legal adviser’ and ‘special adviser’.
The petitioner said that against his employment, Asif was entitled to receive 35,000 UAE Dirham as salary and 15000 UAED as monthly allowances that are being received as an MNA as well as the foreign minister of the country.
He contended that Asif never disclosed this source of income in Pakistan and he is no more ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’. Before his recent employment Asif had also been an ‘Iqama’ holder previously from May 9, 2007, till May 8, 2010. The UAE ministry of labour also issued a ‘labour card’ to Asif on June 29, 2017, whose validity is till June 28, 2019. In his nomination papers for 2013 general election, Asif mentioned his occupation as a businessman while the employment contract reveals another story, the petitioner said.
He argued that the respondent intentionally concealed this information from the public, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in his tax returns in violation of Representation of People Act (ROPA) 1976.
The petitioner said that Asif has disclosed in his wealth statement an amount of Rs6,820,964 as foreign remittance but that cannot be related as Asif did not mention this amount as salary.
The PTI leader has prayed to the court to disqualify Asif as Member of National Assembly under article 62 and ROPA 1976.