LAHORE - A constitutional petition against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seeking his disqualification as Member of the Parliament remained the most important move in the Lahore High Court during the last week.

It was former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhary who moved the petition through his party ‘The Justice and Democratic party’. Advocate Sardar Umar Farooq is his counsel. He made Nawaz Sharif, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and the Election Commission of Pakistan as respondents in the petition.

Locus Standi for the petitioner is that principally he is aggrieved by the decision of speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq who dismissed his reference against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The speaker had earlier dismissed all references against the PM for alleged involvement of his family members in establishing offshore companies abroad.

The petitioner submitted that the speaker misused his authority and powers while dealing with the references filed against the PM. He maintained that this issue fell under the jurisdiction of the Election Commission of Pakistan. The petitioner argued that 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 said, was impeachable under the electoral law of the land but the speaker overlooked this aspect.

The petitioner 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 was assailable under the law.

In his 460-page petition, the petitioner also annexed many documents alleging money laundering and financial and administrative irregularities in the exercise of discretionary powers of the respondent. He argued that under Article 63 (2) of the Constitution Nawaz stands disqualified as he (the respondent) established properties outside the country (London) but he did not declare them before the competent authorities. Let’s see what happens in the case.

During the week, another important case took different status when Justice Shahid Karim of the LHC requested the chief justice to constitute a larger bench to hear a petition against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf sit-in outside Raiwind residence of ruling Sharif family in Lahore. A local lawyer filed the petition and submitted that PTI Chairman Imran Khan returned to the same situation he had been two years ago.

The petitioner further said that Mr Khan again started asking the prime minister to step down in wake of Panama leaks about offshore companies. Advocate Dogar prayed to the court to restrain the PTI chief from launching unconstitutional activity of cordoning of the Raiwind residence of prime minister or a protest sit-in paralysing the system, generating divisive tendencies among different sections of the people of the country.

The LHC also issued notice to federal government in a petition challenging Wireless Telegraph Act 1993 and Television Apparatus Licensing Rules 1972. Punjab Assembly opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rashid filed the petition through Advocate Sheraz Zaka who argued that the act and rules were discriminatory as it mainly focused on imposition of fee on television set barring other wireless devices like mobiles and iPads as there were no rules to regulate these devices.

He argued that at present the laws were only applicable to television apparatus not to other devices.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah issued notices to attorney general of Pakistan to seek a reply and inquire if there were rules and regulations on the levy of fee on television set then why there was absence of rules regarding imposition of fee on other wireless sets like iPads and mobile phones. The hearing was adjourned till Oct 7.

During the week, the LHC directed Higher Education Commission to decide within one month a complaint accusing an assistant professor of the Punjab University of plagiarism. A citizen, Imran Saeed, filed a petition alleging that PU Assistant Professor Zulfiqar Ahmad Bohra committed plagiarism but the authorities were reluctant to take any action against him.

Advocate Saad Rasool, the petitioner’s counsel, told the court that the university authorities were going to promote the assistant professor instead of taking action against him. A PU selection board meeting was already scheduled to discuss promotion of the respondent, the counsel added.

He prayed to the court to order an inquiry against the respondent lecturer and restrain the authorities from promoting him till the outcome of the probe.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah disposed of the petition and directed HEC chairman to decide the matter within one month.

Moreover, during the week, the LHC directed provincial environment protection secretary to implement in letter and spirit a court’s earlier order about regularisation of 39 contract employees within one month and submit a compliance report.

Beside it, another important move was observed as 201 civil judges were transferred across the Punjab. The LHC CJ issued orders of their transfer and posting. The CJ also ordered to transfer 8 additional districts & sessions judges.