ISLAMABAD: A five-member Supreme Court bench Thursday heard further arguments by the counsel of PML-N chief and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the eligibility case. The bench headed by Justice Tassadaq Hussain Jillani and includes Justice Nasir ul Mulk, Justice Mohammad Musa K Leghari, Justice Shaikh Hakim Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani.
It is hearing eligibility case pertaining to the Sharif brothers as well as appeal of Nawaz Sharif against his conviction in 2000 under the military regime on plane hijacking charges. The bench adjourned the hearing till Friday. Abid Hassan Manto, counsel for Nawaz Sharif, argued that the order of Chief Election Commissioner of June 1, 2008 was legal and it could not be challenged.
He said that the tribunal was formed for a specific period and it had to decide the case within that time.
No extension can be given in date of election schedule during any phase, he said and added that under Section 11 (A) of the People’s Representatives Act 1976 only the Chief Election Commissioner has the prerogative to do so under any emergency situation.
Manto argued that Khurram Shah, a petitioner in the case, was neither a resident of the constituency nor a voter. He said that Khurram Shah was neither a contesting candidate nor affected directly. His status is like an informer, he added
Meanwhile A review petition seeking withdrawal of Supreme Court order restoring Shahbaz Sharif as chief minister Punjab was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday. Shahid Orakzai filed the petition under Article 188 of the Constitution saying that the apex court had restored Shahbaz Sharif as chief minister Punjab despite it did not have any such jurisdiction under the Constitution.
“The SC order passed on March 31, 2009 restoring Shahbaz Sharif as Punjab CM has embarrassed and surprised the Constitution which has clearly drawn a line between jurisdiction and powers of the apex court in several articles, the petitioner said. The petitioner contended that Supreme Court was not empowered by the Constitution to convert one of its’ powers into a full fledged jurisdiction, adding the Constitution would be paralyzed if a power is converted into a jurisdiction.
He said Supreme Court could not invoke two distinctly different jurisdictions either at the same time or one after other. He said Supreme Court had already exercised its appellate jurisdiction on February 25, 2009 by disqualifying Sharif brothers to hold any public office.
“In the review petitions, the court was not asked to grant any interim relief for any person who was a member of the Punjab assembly and whose status had been questioned, the petitioner said and contended that any immediate relief to a party against an adverse order of the high court can be granted by Supreme Court strictly under article 185 than through any other provision or power”, it said.
He requested the court to withdraw its March 31 interim order and instruct Shahbaz Sharif to withdraw his review petition and seek the leave of apex court for filing an appeal in accordance with the Constitution and the Rules of Supreme Court.
input from Agencies