Former Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja Asif moves court over disqualification

Pakistan’s former foreign minister Khawaja Asif challenged his disqualification as a member of Parliament by the Islamabad high court in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The PML-N leader, considered a close aide of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution for failing to disclose his employment by a UAE company and the monthly salary paid by it in his nomination papers.

The high court disqualified Asif in response to a petition by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Usman Dar.

The Supreme Court admitted Asif’s petition and set May 4 as the date for hearing the matter.

Citing a paragraph of the judgment that said the former minister had “deliberately and willfully not disclosed his status as an employee of the company”, Asif’s petition in the Supreme Court stated that he had made full disclosure in his nomination forms.

The petition highlighted that “in the facts and circumstances of the case, the use of the term ‘business’ while answering ‘occupation’ does not necessarily imply suppression or concealment of employment”.

It said the high court was not justified in concluding a “lack of honesty” in connection with the non-disclosure of a dormant bank account. It added that in the matter of the dormant bank account, the high court had gone beyond the pleadings of Dar.

Asif asked the apex court to set aside the high court’s judgment and the notification issued by the Election Commission to disqualify him.