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IHC bench formed to decide petition for foreign minister’s disqualification

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice has constituted a new larger bench to hear a petition seeking disqualification of Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif.

The three-judge bench, headed by Justice Athar Minallah, will take up the matter on April 05.

Earlier, the bench dissolved after Justice Gul Hassan Aurangzeb declined to proceed with the case and subsequently, the matter was referred to IHC Chief Justice Anwar Khan Kasi to reconstitute the bench.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Usman Dar petitioned the high court, seeking Khawaja Asif’s disqualification over non-disclosure of his Iqama, a permit to work in the UAE.

Earlier on Sept 23, a larger bench headed by Justice Aamer Farooq had sought a written reply on the matter from the foreign minister after declaring the petition against him maintainable at the last hearing.

The petitioner adopted a stance that Asif is ineligible to hold the office of MNA as well as federal minister for being a party to an ‘unlimited term employment contract’ between him and UAE-based International Mechanical and Electrical Co (IMECO).

“Asif has been hired as a full-time employee by IMECO since July 2, 2011 and served at various positions, including legal and special advisor,” the PTI leader claimed in his petition.

According to the contract signed between two parties, Asif was to receive a monthly basic salary of AED35,000 along with a monthly allowance of AED15,000.

Asif was still receiving the salary and allowance while serving as foreign minister, the petitioner claimed while requesting the court to disqualify him.

It merits to note here that the employment permits of two federal ministers –  Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal – were surfaced after the Panama joint investigation team (JIT) unearthed ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s UAE-based Iqama (work permit).

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