A corrupt party leader corrupts the entire party: Justice AhsanPakistan
A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday heard a set of petitions challenging the Elections Act 2017, filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the Pakistan Peoples Party and 10 others.
"A corrupt party leader corrupts the entire structure of the party," Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked during the day's proceedings. "A disqualified individual can gather 10 people, form a party and then use them [to further his agenda]," he remarked.
Turning to Salman Akram Raja, who was in court pleading disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's case that disqualification from parliament should not deprive an individual from leading a political party, the judge said: "Qualified people are being controlled by a disqualified person."
He was likely referencing the PML-N, which is currently being presided over by Sharif.
"How can a person who has been punished [and disqualified] lead a party?" the judge asked Raja.
However, Raja disagreed with Justice Ahsan's assessment, arguing: "The issuance of Senate tickets by a disqualified individual does not corrupt the entire party. A disqualified person cannot come to parliament, but he can run the party."
The chief justice, upon being quoted a precedent from an Indian court by Raja, responded saying: “This is not India, so don’t quote their legal examples here. They never quote our laws.”
Justice Nisar then explained that the verdicts by foreign supreme courts hold little value in Pakistan: “The US Supreme Court permits the burning of flags, allows a convict to become party leaders and thinks that homosexuality is fine,” he stated, ostensibly giving examples of differences between the laws of the two countries.
Meanwhile, Justice Umar Ata Bandial said: "When a person is disqualified, he is out of the parliament. Then how can such a person become the leader of other parliamentarians.”
At this, Raja countered with: “The law does not impose any such restrictions. If someone is convicted, he gets punished for that offence but he does not get stripped of his other rights.”
Details to follow