SC dismisses plea seeking Khusro Bakhtiar, his brother’s disqualification

Sohail Khan
Thursday, Sep 22, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking disqualification of PTI legislators Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and his brother Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht for concealing their assets at the time of 2018 elections.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsen and comprising Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha A Malik dismissed the petition filed by Ahsen Abid. The court ruled that the petitioner had failed to provide evidence before the Election Commission of Pakistan regarding concealment of assets by the respondents. The petitioner had challenged the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

He had challenged the eligibility of the Makdoom brothers for contesting the 2018 elections and accused them of concealing assets. In January, a four-member bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan had dismissed the plea, holding that the commission had no jurisdiction to hear the instant matter. The bench had asked the petitioner to approach an appropriate forum to get the remedy. Later, he had challenged the ECP decision in the apex court.

On Wednesday, during the course of hearing, the court admonished the petitioner for his manners and behavior while responding to queries. “Why do you start pondering every time when we ask questions”, Justice Ahsen asked the petitioner. “If the three judges sitting before you are useless”, Justice Ijazul Ahsen admonished the petitioner “You even do not have manners to appear before the court”, Justice Ahsen reprimanded petitioner Ahsen Abid, adding that such a behavior is tantamount to a contempt of court.

The petitioner then apologised to the court and said that the Makdoom brothers had concealed their assets at the time of 2018 elections. “You have failed to provide any proof before the Election Commission of Pakistan pertaining to concealment of assets, Justice Ijazul Ahsen told the petitioner.

Justice Ayesha A Malik, another member of the bench, while addressing the petitioner said that the document he was relying on was in fact a complaint he had filed with the National Accountability Bureau. “Whether we should disqualify the two legislators on the complaint filed with the anti-graft body”, Justice Ayesha A Malik asked the petitioner.

Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi asked the petitioner that it would be better if he withdrew the petition. Justice Ijazul Ahsen asked the petitioner if he had contested the election against Khusro Bakhtiar and how many votes he had bagged. The petitioner replied that Khusro Bakhtiar had got 100,000 votes while he bagged 1,000.

Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi then advised the petitioner to wait for the next general elections. It is pertinent to mention that after the registrar had returned the petition with objections that the instant petition was not maintainable. Later, the petitioner had filed a chamber appeal in the apex court, praying to set aside the order of the Registrar Office. He had also challenged the order of Registrar Office, contending that it was based on mala fide.

Deciding his appeal, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah had ordered that the question of maintainability of a petition or an appeal was a justicable issue that called for adjudication and thus it was solely the prerogative of the court to exercise its judicial power.