LHC reserves judgement on petitions seeking disqualification of Shahbaz, Nawaz

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday reserved its judgement over maintainability of a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan seeking Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s disqualification.

Khan’s counsel Babar Awan pleaded that Shahbaz Sharif had amassed wealth beyond known sources of income during his tenures as chief minister and given gifts worth Rs6 billion to his brother, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, over the years.

Awan argued that Shahbaz Sharif held personal business interests while holding public office and had been unable to provide a money trail for these interests.

“He has illegally shifted the location of his family’s sugar mills and misused his influence for this purpose,” Awan claimed, adding that Shahbaz Sharif should be disqualified for exceeding his authority and illegally accumulating assets.

LHC’s Justice Shahid Kareem inquired as to why the petitioner had not moved the speaker of the Punjab Assembly for Sharif’s disqualification, to which Awan replied that the speaker had been approached but had failed to act since he belonged to the same political party as the Punjab chief minister, after which the court reserved its decision on the maintainability of the petition.

PM’s disqualification petition

The LHC also reserved judgement on the maintainability of a petition seeking to tie the prime minister’s disqualification to a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference.

Petitioner Mohammad Ameen’s counsel stated that a joint investigation team (JIT) is not an investigative institution, and that without probing a case legally, an individual cannot be declared guilty.

He maintained that disqualification of the PM on the basis of a JIT report would be illegal, and the only legal method to disqualify the Nawaz Sharif would require a NAB investigation according to Section 15 of National Accountability Ordinance 1999.

In his remarks, Justice Kareem said that the court had been moved despite the case already being heard in the Supreme Court and reserved judgement on maintainability of the petition.

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