ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday decided to constitute a division bench to hear a petition of Engineer KhurramDastgir Khan Member National Assembly (MNA) belonging to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) challenging the notification regarding constitution of National Finance Commission (NFC).

In this regard, a single bench of IHC comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb suggested to constitute a dual bench to conduct hearing of the petition and sent the file of the case to Chief Justice of IHC Justice AtharMinallah for the approval. Earlier, the IHC single bench expressed its displeasure over the Finance Division (FD) for not submitting a reply in the petition against the constitution of 10th National Finance Commission. During the hearing, Justice Aurangzeb warned the FD representative that the court could issue a stay order if the division did not submit a written reply by June 26. The court also directed that the attorney general or the additional attorney general should come and assist the court on the next hearing.

The IHC bench also accepted the petitioner’s request to submit further documents in the case after which the Sindh chief minister’s letter regarding reservations on the constitution of the NFC was made part of the record.

Giving reason for not submitting the written reply, the FD representative told the court that similar petitions were being heard in Sindh and Balochistan High Courts as well. He added that they intend to transfer these petitions to the Islamabad High Court. At this, Justice Miangul asked that whether the FD had filed an application in the Supreme Court for the shifting of high court cases to one high court. The FD representative answered that no such application had been filed in the apex court till now.

The judge remarked that the matter would be taken up when the remaining applications are received and directed the FD representative to submit a reply on the petition which was being heard. He observed that the representative is not realising the gravity of the matter and if a reply is not submitted by the next hearing, the court can issue a stay order.  

The petitioner’s lawyer adopted that the Constitution of Pakistan explicitly states that the country is to be run by elected representatives. He contended that nowhere in the constitution does it state that the PM’s adviser on finance can be the convener instead of the finance minister.

In his petition, Dastgir requested the court to declare the said notification as illegal being ultra vires sub-articles (1) and (2) of Article 160 of the Constitution. 

He filed the petition through his counsel Barrister Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha and cited President of Pakistan through his secretary, Federal Government through secretary cabinet division, Secretary Finance, Secretary Law and Dr Abdul Hafiz Sheikh Advisor to Prime Minister as respondents.