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18 Feb 2019, 21:31 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • Sharif not to participate in case challenging his re-election

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20:5 HRS IST

as PML-N chief

By Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad, Feb 6 (PTI)
Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif today decided not to participate in the Supreme Court proceedings in a case challenging his re-election as the chief of his party following the passing of the Elections Act, saying his participation in the case may bring "prejudice".

A three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar resumed hearing today several petitions challenging the Elections Act 2017.

As the proceedings began, Sharif submitted his response to the apex court, in which he said that he had decided not to participate in the court proceedings after consulting leaders of the PML-N, the Geo TV reported.

The Supreme Court has taken up around half a dozen petitions against Sharif for being re-elected as party president after the passage of the Act.

Sharif was disqualified by the apex court in last July, under Article 62(1)(f) of the Election Act 2017, which sets the precondition for a member of parliament to be "sadiq and ameen" (honest and righteous), in the Panama Papers case.

Recalling that time to hold the consultations had been sought from - and granted - by the SC when his lawyer had appeared before the bench on January 31, the former premier noted in his reply that the matter - one of "far-reaching consequences relating to the body politic of the country" - has been taken up by the court on the "motion of many other aggrieved parties", the Dawn reported.

He also added that his participation in the case may bring "prejudice" to the proceedings.

Sharif said if he had decided to participate in the proceedings, he would have asked Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan to recuse themselves from the case as they had served on the bench that disqualified him in the Panama Papers case, it said.

It is to be noted that four of the judges hearing the case, excluding Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, have given either observations or judgements in the Panama Papers case.

Observing that it is Sharif's prerogative not to become part of the case, the chief justice said that the case will continue without his input.

Earlier in the day, an anti-graft court today postponed hearing in the case against Sharif due to non-availability of defence lawyer.

Accompanied by daughter Maryam and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar, who are co-accused in one of the three Panama Papers cases, Sharif appeared in the court here.

It was his 16th appearance in the court.

As soon as the hearing started, the court was informed that Sharif's lawyer Khawaja Harris could not come as he was busy in the Supreme Court.

Judge Muhammad Bashir adjourned the case.

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