DAWN Report About CEC Inquiry Leaves Out Key Constitutional Articles

Jan 27th, 2010 | By | Category: Dawn

A report in today’s Dawn says that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is investigating claims that President Zardari is ineligible to hold the office of President, but the report leaves out a key detail – Article  Constitution.

The report claims that a petitioner has asked the CEC to investigate whether Zardari was eligible to stand for office under under Article 63(2) (3) read with articles 5, 25, 50, 62 and 63 of the Constitution. The petitioner claims that, with the Supreme Court’s voiding the NRO, Zardari has become retroactively ineligible to stand for the office of President under Article 41(2) that says a candidate must be qualified to be elected as member of the National Assembly.

The Dawn report fails to note, however, that Article 41(6) of the Constitution states quite clearly that, “The validity of the election of the President shall not be called in question by or before any court or other authority.”

In fact, the only means provided in the Constitution for removing a sitting President are in Article 47: “Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, the President may, in accordance with the provisions of this Article, be removed from office on the ground of physical or mental incapacity or impeached on a charge of violating the Constitution or gross misconduct.”

While it might be of some academic interest as to the retroactive eligibility of Zardari, the fact is that he was elected and Article 41(6) legitimizes that election. Moreover, at the time of the election, all the facts available now were available then, so there is no new information that would have changed the outcome of the election other than the voiding of the NRO, which was, of course, not void at the time of the election. To quote a common phrase, you cannot un-ring the bell.

Readers of Dawn‘s report may be misled into believing that President Zardari’s election could be retroactively voided, causing a crisis of leadership in the government. In fact, the Constitution clearly says this is not true. In the future, Dawn should make sure that it’s reports include all the important facts so that readers are able to fully understand important situations.

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