Iqama Case: Khwaja Asif challenges formation of IHC bench

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Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Asif Monday challenged the formation of a larger bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) to hear his case against disqualification over possessing an Iqama (work permit).

A larger bench of the IHC headed by Justice Amir Farooq heard the petition of the minister.

"The constitution of a larger bench by this court has directly deprived me of my substantive right to an appeal under Section 3 of the Law Reforms Ordinance 1972", said the minister.

The counsel, however, said he did not want to press the application and would submit a detailed reply by the next hearing. According to the petition, despite being the foreign minister and an MNA, Asif intends to secretly continue his fulltime employment with IMECL, in violation of his oath, his obligation of fidelity and the assurance of no conflict to federal minister office, while also being against his continuing obligation under provisions of Article 62 and 63 of the constitution.

The bench also re-issued a notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with directions to submit a reply by the next hearing.

The petitioner has sought quo warranto (power of the high court to enquire about the legal position of any public servant on the complaint of any citizen) proceedings against Khawaja Asif.

Dar was an opponent of Asif in NA-110 during the previous general elections.

The counsel said Asif was to receive a monthly basic salary of AED35,000 along with a monthly allowance of AED15,000, making the aggregated payment AED50,000 per month.

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). The petitioner had asked the court to disqualify Khawaja Asif on these grounds.

On July 28, Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as prime minister by the Supreme Court on the basis of holding an Iqama even though he had reportedly not received any salary on its basis.