In another jolt to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Islamabad High Court on Thursday disqualified Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif as a member of parliament for holding an UAE work permit, Dawn reported. The High Court delivered its verdict on a petition filed by Usman Dar, a member of the the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, who sought seeking Asif’s disqualification for holding a UAE visa and its subsequent non-disclosure in the nomination papers filed during the 2013 elections. Dar had lost to Asif in the 2013 elections from the NA-110 constituency, according to Dawn.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers celebrate outside Islamabad High Court after it ruled that Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif stands disqualified from Parliament for holding an Iqama (work permit) of the United Arab Emirates. pic.twitter.com/59DyYUvXIG
— ANI (@ANI) April 26, 2018
Last year, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as the prime minister in the Panama Papers case after the Supreme Court concluded that he was not “honest and righteous” as he failed to declare in 2013 a salary he got from the company of his son in the UAE. Recently, the SC ruled that Sharif’s disqualification was for life, drawing curtains on his political career.
Dar, in his petition, sought Asif’s disqualification under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, alleging that the foreign minister did not declare details of his employment contract with Mech and Elec Co LLC (IMECL), a UAE-based company, in his nomination papers for the 2013 elections. Asif has been working in the in the company as a special adviser since 2011 for a salary of 50,000 UAE dirhams per month, the petition further alleged. Asif, through his counsel, said till the tax year 2011-2012, he received AED 50,000 and declared it as foreign income in the nomination papers.
Meanwhile, a huge crowd had gathered outside the HC as supporters of PTI shouted slogans of “Go Nawaz Go” after the announcement of the verdict. After being elected in 2013, Asif served as the minister of water and power in Sharif’s cabinet. Subsequently, he was given an additional portfolio of defence minister. Later, when Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi assumed office in 2017, Asif was appointed as foreign minister.