Attention-seeking petitioners

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While there is a debate of reforming the justice sector, the issue of person-specific petitions that people file to seek media attention and/ or malign individuals with a public standing should also be considered.

A Lahore High Court judge the other day recused himself from hearing two petitions filed against the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Both the petitioners accuse the PM of concealing his alleged parentage of his daughter in his nomination papers filed for 2018 general elections.

Earlier this year, on January 21, the Islamabad High Court had thrown out the exact same petition terming it non-maintainable as it involved personal matters.

It boggles the mind to think that once a petition has been dealt with conclusively by one constitutional court, how a petitioner can take the same matter to another court?

Also for the disqualification of a public representative there is a legal process clearly outlined in the Constitution and the right forum for that is the Election Commission of Pakistan. But there is an unfortunate trend among the habitual petitioners as well as the politicians to take the disqualification issues to the courts.

Recently the Pakistan Tehreek–i–Insaf’s Khurram Sher Zaman went to the ECP with a disqualification request against the PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari. He simultaneously approached the court as well. As the hearing date for the ECP approached, he, to the surprise of many, withdrew the petition and instead decided to pursue the court route which is a less sure way of having a lawmaker ousted. Lack of evidence could be one of the reasons behind the withdrawing of the request.

That aside, the trend to get someone declared as dishonest and untruthful through a court of law should come to an end. It will save the courts’ time – the courts are already over-burdened with as many as 1.9 million cases pending at various levels. Such petitioners should be fined as has been pointed out by the IHC in the petition against the PM.