IHC requests legal assistance on recusal requests from MPs

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ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday asked for legal assistance in petitions challenging the qualifications of former President Asif Ali Zardari and Minister of Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain.

The court asked lawyers to present arguments at the upcoming hearing on December 9 on the viability of the petitions and to convince the court of the reasons why it should hear such cases against elected members of parliament.

The court would not delay further proceedings in cases, the judiciary observed, adding that there should be a system of self-accountability in parliament instead of involving the courts in such disputes.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard cases relating to the eligibility of Zardari and Chaudhry. Fawad Chaudhry’s lawyer, Faisal Chaudhry, appeared in court and urged the court to dismiss the case for non-prosecution as the petitioner, Sami Ibrahim, was absent.

Let the petitioner come to the next hearing, then the court will consider the case, the chief justice noted. He then asked who would present the arguments. Faisal Chaudhry replied that the petitioner should start the arguments.

Chief Justice Minallah asked why the court should interfere in such cases. Political leaders should raise the issue in the relevant forums instead of dragging the courts into their disputes. He also said that there were other forums, including Parliament, to deal with the issue.

He stressed that the courts were already overloaded with pending cases. The court asked the petitioners to present arguments on the maintainability of the cases and noted that this would not be primarily on the merits of the cases.

The chief justice noted that the court wanted to decide the cases, once and for all. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) attorney informed the court that his department could only provide the details of his tax return when directed by the court. The hearing was adjourned to December 9.

(WITH APP ENTRY)

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