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PML-N to file review plea against Nawaz’s disqualification: Sanaullah

The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has announced its intention to file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a review of the decision that disqualified party leader Nawaz Sharif
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The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has announced its intention to file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a review of the decision that disqualified party leader Nawaz Sharif from holding public office and the position of party president. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed this development on Monday.

Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the apex court in the Panama Papers case on July 28, 2017, due to his failure to disclose unpaid salary from his son in the Panama case. Subsequently, the court ruled that a person disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as the head of a political party.

In an interview, the interior minister stated that the PML-N would request Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial not to be a part of the bench that hears the review plea, as the top judge is perceived as biased against the ruling party.

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Regarding Nawaz’s return to politics, the minister stated that it would depend on his health and the upcoming polls. He reiterated that the general elections were scheduled to be held in October.

The Supreme Court Review of Judgements and Orders Bill, 2023, which came into force recently, allows for the review of suo motu judgments by a larger bench than the one that issued the original order. The law specifies that the scope of review, both on facts and law, shall be the same as an appeal under Article 185 of the Constitution.

However, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar has stated that the new law regarding the review of judgments will not benefit Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Khan Tareen, a former leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). According to Tarar, both individuals have already exercised their right of review against their sentences, and the court’s verdict is considered final under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

Legal experts have weighed in on the matter, stating that while the option of filing a review petition already existed, the scope was limited. With the new law in effect, a review or appeal can now be filed on both factual and legal grounds. Review pleas can be submitted within 60 days of the law coming into effect, and a larger bench will be formed to adjudicate the cases under review.

However, experts agree with Tarar’s perspective that Nawaz Sharif does not have the option to file a review since his previous request was rejected. Similarly, Tareen is also unlikely to benefit from the new law. However, there could be an exception if no review had been filed in the case of “Samiullah Baloch vs. Abdul Karim Nousherwani” in which the court held that electoral disqualification was for life.

In conclusion, the PML-N’s decision to file a petition for the review of Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification reflects their ongoing efforts to challenge the previous court ruling. The Supreme Court Review of Judgements and Orders Bill, 2023 provides a legal avenue for such reviews, although its application to specific cases will depend on various factors and legal considerations.

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