Court’s ruling says foreign minister violated election laws by not declaring work permits in the U.A.E.
The Islamabad High Court on Thursday disqualified Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for violating Pakistan’s election laws, in another major blow to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party as it prepares for nationwide polls due later this year.
The ruling by the court was the latest in a series of court decisions that have gone against the PMLN. Last July, its leader Nawaz Sharif was ousted from the premiership over graft allegations and then barred from politics for life by another decision earlier this month.
Asif—who had earlier served as the country’s minister of defense—was found guilty of failing to declare several work permits (iqama) in the United Arab Emirates, violating Pakistan’s election laws.
A three-member bench headed by Justice Minallah announced the verdict and ruled that Asif is not ‘sadiq’ and ‘ameen’ as per the Constitution. The bench unanimously ruled that Asif has been disqualified as per Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. As per law, Asif will now be unable to hold public or party office.
“We declare that the respondent was not qualified to contest the General Election of 2013,” read the court’s ruling.
Sharif and his supporters have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, suggesting the former prime minister and his party are the victims of a conspiracy driven by the security establishment.