Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif disqualified for life
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has been disqualified by the Islamabad High Court not disclosing a UAE Iqama in his nomination papers.
A three-member bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akther Kayani read out the verdict.
Khawaja Asif, who is a central leader of PML-N and had contested elections from Sialkot in 2013 was declared ineligible for holding office on account of Article 62 (1)(f) of the constitution in a case related to his foreign permit (iqama).
The bench unanimously ruled that Asif was not "truthful" and "honest". Asif will be unable to hold public or party office after the verdict.
The PTI leader had urged the court to disqualify Asif, stating that the Supreme Court has already disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last year for having an 'Iqama' of working in the company of his sons and not declaring his "receivable salary".
The petition against Asif had been filed last year by Usman Dar, a member of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) last year. The Islamabad HC had reserved the verdict on April 10.
The petition had alleged that since Asif had given misleading information in his nomination form during parliamentary elections in 2013. Despite being the federal minister Asif "intends to surreptitiously and secretly continue with his full-time employment with IMECL in violation of his oath of office under the Constitution", Dawn.com quoted from the petition.
During the hearing, Asif had submitted a letter from the company that he was not full time employee and only worked as a consultant whose presence was not needed in the UAE, where the company is based.
The bench, comprising Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, had reserved the verdict on April 10.
Asif is one of top leaders of ruling Pakistan Muslims League-Nawaz and his disqualification is considered a huge blow to the party ahead of election scheduled to be held after June.
Responded to the IHC verdict regarding his disqualification Khwaja Asif has stated: "I will challenge this verdict in the Supreme Court".