Govt makes pitch for full court hearing

Leaders from PDM, allied parties will hold a joint press conference before filing petition


Khalid Mehmood July 24, 2022
Opposition leaders addressing a news conference in Islamabad on March 8. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

The ruling coalition will move the Supreme Court on Monday (today) seeking the formation of full court for the hearing of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s petition against the election of Punjab chief minister.

A three-member apex court bench, comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhter, is hearing a plea at the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry filed by Elahi — who was also the candidate for the chief minister’s slot.

Elahi secured 186 votes against 179 votes of PML-Nawaz’ Hamza Shehbaz. However, Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari rejected 10 votes of the PML-Q lawmakers on the basis of a letter from party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who said that his party did not support Elahi.

Mazari then said that in line with the ruling of the Supreme Court verdict on Article 63-A related to the defection clause the votes of PML-Q lawmakers would not be counted. He then declared Hamza Shehbaz as the winner.

The three-member Supreme Court bench directed on Saturday that Hamza would remain as a ‘trustee’ chief minister of Punjab until Monday (today), when the apex court would hold further hearing of the petition.

On Sunday, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and other constituent parties of the ruling alliance announced that they would file a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking the formation of a full bench to hear Elahi’s petition.

According to Express News, the main leaders of the coalition parties would hold a joint press conference on Monday to make an important announcement in this regard. Later, the ruling alliance leaders would go to the top court together with their lawyers to file the petition.

The petition would be filed by the PML-N, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Awami National Party (ANP), Balochistan National Party (BNP), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and other allies.

It has been reported that the ruling party alliance would also request the apex court to club the Supreme Court Bar Association’s (SCBA) review request with the present petition and other related applications.

Last night, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had said in a tweet that his party – the PML-N – “had no hope of getting a just verdict” from this bench, adding that they would demand the formation of a full court through an application to be filed on Monday (today).

Also read: Ruling coalition requests full bench in Punjab CM election case

Meanwhile, at a press conference in Lahore on Sunday, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and Punjab government spokesperson Attaullah Tarar also called for the formation of a full court bench to hear cases related to Article 63-A's interpretation.

The law minister said that if a representative of the people was to be sent home through a legal decision then it was a requirement of justice, transparency and independence that a full court bench heard the matter.

He also said that the SCBA's review petition, the chief minister’s election and the appeals of the de-seated dissident PTI lawmakers were all linked together. "The most foundational case is Article 63-A’s interpretation with which all these matters are solved," he added.

Reacting to the issue, senior PTI leader and former information and law minister Fawad Chaudhry said that forming the full court was the prerogative of the chief justice, “but the CJP has already said there is no room for legal interpretation in this matter anymore.”

He demanded disqualification proceedings against the government leaders who flouted the top court's orders in the Punjab chief minister's election. “The deputy speaker did not show up in the Supreme Court despite a summons, which shows his disregard for the court,” he said.

(WITH INPUT FROM NEWS DESK)

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