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Calling Down Chaos

by Newsweek Pakistan

Farooq Naeem—AFP

The ongoing application of the ‘sadiq’ and ‘ameen’ clauses of Pakistan’s Constitution heralds political disaster

The Islamabad High Court on April 26 disqualified foreign minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif from politics for life under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution “for not disclosing his employment in a U.A.E. company as an occupation as well as the monthly salary he was receiving.”

The court clarified that merely holding an iqama (work permit) from the United Arab Emirates was not a disqualifier but “non-disclosure before the 2013 elections of his employment in a U.A.E. company as an occupation as well as the monthly salary he was receiving,” was. Retrospectively, Asif shouldn’t have been allowed to contest the 2013 elections. He now says he will appeal the verdict at the Supreme Court.

The case, brought before the honorable court by a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader, has put paid to Asif’s political career. This is clearly a part of the internecine politics that has been destabilizing Pakistan for the past five years. The court duly took note of the ongoing defamatory war between politicians that has dragged the judiciary into the fray. It said in its judgment: “It would have been appropriate if the political party to which the petitioner belongs, the PTI, had raised the issue at hand in Parliament before invoking the jurisdiction of the court.” The sad truth is that the judiciary has not covered itself with glory trying to adjudicate political battles that it should have declined to entertain. Instead, it has tended to go “activist” as never before in its history and is often accused of being partisan in the ongoing toppling game.

The judiciary, now up to its neck in Pakistan’s cutthroat politics, has once again remarked on the unrealistic application of the prophetic concepts of “sadiq” and “ameen” under the Constitution. Article 62(1)(f), inserted by Islamizing military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq with his 8th Amendment, should have been removed through the 18th Amendment but was not.

Now, Pakistan is being punished for choosing false piety as a way of life. The ruling PMLN is at the receiving end of the current process of exclusion. Thanks to this standoff, the coming days threaten to move the state from a bipartisan political system to that of chaotic coalition governments and their resultant non-performance.

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