The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday instructed the attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) to provide references of cases to the petitioner’s lawyer in connection with an intra-court appeal of PPP’s Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani against the rejection of seven votes in the Senate chairman election.
A two-judge bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, heard Gilani appeal challenging the decision of a single member bench on the matter. Gilani’s lawyer, Farooq H Naek, contended that the single judge bench had rejected their case on the grounds that the matter pertained to parliamentary proceedings, and that it was an internal subject of the upper house of parliament.
Moreover, the decision also read that there was alternative forum for the petitioner but did not point it out, he added. Naek pleaded that his client was a candidate for the post of the Senate chairman. He added that the Senate secretary briefed the senators that the stamp in the box on ballot paper containing the name of a candidate would be considered correct. To this, Justice Farooq observed that the details of Senate secretary’s briefing could not be verified. To the court’s query, Naek said Sadiq Sanjrani and Yousuf Raza Gilani had received 49 and 42 votes respectively, while seven votes were rejected by the presiding officer.
He added that parliamentary proceedings had immunity under Article 69 of the Constitution, but how could it be called a procedure when a particular voting method had not been mentioned in the rules. The lawyer said the presiding officer belonged to the PPP’s opponent party, and the rejection of seven votes by him was unlawful. Justice Farooq asked as to whom would the court would issue notices if the case was admitted for hearing.
The lawyer answered that it would be issued to the Senate secretariat and the presiding officer. The court instructed AGP Khalid Jawed Khan to provide judicial references to the petitioner’s lawyer on the matter and adjourned the hearing till June 1. In March this year, the IHC had thrown out Gilani’s petition against the rejection of seven votes — cast in his favour — by a presiding officer on March 12 election for the slot of Senate chairman, stating that Senate proceedings are immune to judicial interference. (WITH INPUT FROM APP)