Pak govt moves SC against verdict in Sharif’s case

Pak govt moves SC against verdict in Sharif’s case

Islamabad: Pakistan government Wednesday moved the Supreme Court against its verdict barring opposition PML-N leaders Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif from contesting polls and holding public offices and sought an early hearing on the two petitions filed by it.

In the petitions, the government asked the apex court to set aside its order of 25 February disqualifying the Sharif brothers from electoral politics. The petitions said the verdict had far-reaching implications for electoral laws and fundamental rights.

Attorney General Latif Khosa told reporters that the petitions were filed on the instructions of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The government has asked the court to take up the petitions at the earliest possible date, though it is the prerogative of the Chief Justice to schedule a hearing, he said.

The government said it would present further arguments after the Supreme Court issues a detailed judgement in the case against the Sharif brothers. The court issued only a brief order on 25 February.

Under existing rules, a review petition has to be filed within 30 days of the court giving its verdict.

After the apex court gave its verdict last month, President Asif Ali Zardari imposed Governor’s rule in Punjab, which was ruled by the PML-N.

Nawaz Sharif and his brother, former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, then threw their weight behind a countrywide protest by lawyers to pressurise the ruling PPP to reinstate judges deposed during the 2007 emergency.

The PPP-led government gave in to pressure created by the protest and announced the restoration of the judges, including former Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, on Monday.

Gilani had earlier announced that his government would file review petitions against the apex court’s verdict barring the Sharif brothers from electoral politics.

PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said the hearing of the matter by outgoing Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar, who was appointed by former President Pervez Musharraf, could give rise to “questions and controversy".

The issue should be decided by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry when he assumes office on 22 March, he said.

The verdict against the Sharif brothers was “undemocratic" and had created irritants in national politics, Iqbal said.

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