ISLAMABAD - The counsel for a rival candidate of Nawaz Sharif Friday informed the Supreme Court of Pakistan that the former prime minister and Quaid of Pakistan Muslim-Nawaz was disqualified by the returning officer for NA-120, Lahore, during the general elections on the basis of his conviction in two criminal cases. Dr Mohiuddin Qazi, counsel for Noor Elahi, a rival candidate of PML-N Quaid Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, further stated that former premier had not filed any appeal against the rejection of his nomination papers, thus his disqualification is inherent and intact. During the hearing of a set of appeals regarding the eligibility of the Sharif brothers and an application seeking formation of an appropriate bench to adjudicate upon these appeals, Dr Mohiuddin Qazi completed his arguments yesterday (Friday). After the completion of his arguments, the three-judge bench of the apex court adjourned the hearing till Monday. The three-judge bench, comprising Justice Moosa K Leghari, Justice Sakhi Hussain Bukhari and Justice Sheikh Hakim Ali is seized with the hearing of the issue while the lawyers of Sharif brothers have been demanding a larger bench consisting of those deposed judges of the apex court who did not take oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) after imposition of emergency by former President Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007. Seeking rejection of the plea for a larger bench and demanding approval of the Lahore High Court ruling that disqualified Nawaz Sharif on June 24 last year and referred the qualification of Shahbaz to Election Commission for review, Dr Mohiuddin Qazi said the petition of the proposer and the seconder of Nawaz Sharif were liable to be dismissed as the actual party neither questioned its disqualification before the Election Commission nor before the court. He further pointed out that the disqualification of Nawaz Sharrif from NA-120 (Lahore) was inherent as not being challenged before any forum and the same applied when he refilled his nomination papers in the bye-elections from NA-123. Referring to the convictions of Nawaz Sharif from Anti-Terrorism Court in Hijacking Case and Accountability Court, Attock Fort, in Helicopter Case, Dr Qazi said PML-N Quaid stands disqualified to hold a public office. He further argued that though the President of Pakistan was empowered to pardon these sentences under Article 45 of the Constitution but the status of any convicted person would remain the same despite being pardoned. In reply to a question of the court whether the National Reconciliation Ordinance could slash the convictions, Dr Qazi said conviction orders will remain intact under NRO but the convicted person can get himself acquitted by proving his innocence in superior courts of law. At this stage, Muhammad Akram Sheikh Advocate, who is one of the counsels for the proposer and seconder of PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, objected to the arguments and asked "the court to first decide the plea for formation of an appropriate bench for deciding the issue". The bench, however, categorically observed that the issue of bias alleged to the sitting judges would be decided after completion of arguments on merits in the Sharif brothers' eligibility case. "How can we decide the issue of bias without hearing the merits of the case", observed Justice Sheikh Hakim Ali. Later, the hearing adjourned till Monday. Later, A K Dogar, another counsel for the proposer and seconder of Nawaz Sharif while talking to media persons after the hearing, stated that if President Asif Zardari could be given the political benefit, why not Nawaz Sharif. He further said that National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) has no legal status at present and it should be either abolished or should be applied across the board. Dogar also said that all the cases against Sharif brothers were of political nature.