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IHC orders Asif Zardari to submit response on assets concealing plea within two weeks

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday took up a petition seeking former president Asif Ali Zardari’s disqualification, and issued notices to him to submit his response within two weeks.

 

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah presided over hearing of the petition while lamenting that such matters should have been resolved in the parliament.

 

“You people could have approached the FBR. This court has 18,000 other cases to settle,” he remarked.

 

“While other appropriate forums are available, why the court should be involved in such matters?” he further asked.

 

PTI leader Usman Dar’s lawyer told the court that details of assets owned by Zardari were not declared in his nomination papers.

 

To which, Justice Minallah responded that the Supreme Court’s verdict in Panama Papers could be read.

 

“You should first justify your stance by convincing the court that no other forum is available to resolve the matter,” the judge concluded.

 

During the last hearing, the top judge had asked the PTI leaders to explain why the disqualification plea should be heard on the priority basis. “Is this a case of public interest?” he had asked.

 

“This is the time to strengthen parliament,” he had said. “We want to ensure the supremacy of parliament,” he had remarked.

 

Later on Thursday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs and PTI leader Usman Dar, in an ironic manner, suggested other senior leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to disclaim their association with Zardari.

 

He spoke to the media in Islamabad, and asserted that Zardari would soon be disqualified and called him “king of corruption.”

 

“It must come to light who are Mehreen Shah and Muhammad Idrees,” he went on to say.

 

On January 28, the PTI leaders Usman Dar and Khurrum Sher Zaman filed a disqualification petition against PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari. However, the court’s registrar raised objections and said the petition was unclear.

 

Zardari was elected as an MNA from NA-213 Nawabshah seat during the July 25 general election. The petition says that he should be disqualified because he owns an apartment in New York and two bulletproof cars. The assets are worth Rs143.7 million. Zardari did not declare these assets in his nomination papers.

 

“The PPP co-chairperson should be disqualified under Article 62 (i) (f) of the Constitution for hiding asset details,” the petition says, while adding Article 62(i)(f) of Constitution deems it necessary for all members of the parliaments to be Sadiq and Ameen.”

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