Islamabad [Pakistan], July 26 (ANI): The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday rejected the petition seeking the formation of a full bench for hearing the case of the Punjab chief minister's election.
This comes after Hamza Shahbaz defeated Pervez Elahi in the Punjab polls and Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker, Mazari had dismissed PML-Q's 10 votes after party head, Chaudhry Shujaat urged them to vote in favour of Hamza.
According to the brief verdict, the three-member bench -- headed by Chief of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar -- will hear the petition filed by the PTI, reported Geo News.
Following the decision, the country's top court decided to adjourn the hearing on the ruling till 11:30 am tomorrow (Tuesday).
CJP Bandial had said that the court needed more legal clarification regarding the formation of a full bench to issue a verdict on the case. He also said that he was unsure whether the decision on the said ruling will be made on Monday.
Meanwhile, the court also accepted the petition filed by PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and the PPP to become a party in the case, reported Geo News.
During the hearing, Deputy Speaker Mazari's lawyer, Irfan Qadir said he was instructed to speak regarding the formation of the full court only; therefore, he needed time to take instructions from his client.
Meanwhile, Hamza Shahbaz's counsellor Mansoor Awan sought time to take instructions for arguments on merit.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan reiterated that the decision to form a full court will be made on merit. Meanwhile, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarrar asserted that there was enough clarification in this regard, reported Geo News.
Tarrar added that if the review petition is approved that there will be no need for a run-off election.
Continuing his argument, advocate Qadir said that the re-election for the chief minister was held in the light of the court's decisions.
"Therefore, if the court refuses to accept the deputy speaker's decision to reject the votes of defecting members, there will be no need for re-election," he said, adding that the basis of this case is the Supreme Court's verdict "which must be reviewed first."
Advocate Qadir further said that there is a contradiction in Supreme Court's ruling on Article 63(A), "which gives the idea that the apex court is under pressure."
However, he immediately added that he wasn't trying to disrespect the court as the top court was equally respectable for him as well, reported Geo News.
Citing an example of the difference of opinions among politicians which was wreaking havoc on the country, the deputy speaker's counsel said that if the judges also unite and form a full court, then the issue can be resolved easily.
While concluding his arguments, the lawyer urged the court not to hurry in making a decision and carefully deliberate it.
On the other hand, PPP's counsel Farooq H Naek requested that the court should hear the case tomorrow morning "with a fresh mind," reported Geo News.
Justice Munib Akhtar intervened, saying that there should be no dictatorship of the party leader in the parliamentary party.
Subsequently, PML-Q lawyer Salahuddin took the rostrum and said that in his opinion, "instructions to the parliamentary party are issued by the party head," as he also urged the formation of a full court bench.
CJB Bandial acknowledged that the country was suffering from a continuous crisis since April. "We want the country to run according to the Constitution and democracy; we don't want these differences to continue," he said.
The chief justice further added that cases related to the constitutional and public interest cannot be left hanging in the balance, reported Geo News.
"Like every citizen, we are also worried about the economic situation," CJP Bandial said, adding that today, the one who took more votes is out and the one who secured 179 votes is the chief minister.
CJP Bandial said that in order to retain Hamza as the CM, solid foundation is needed. "Please, show the written proof that where is it written that directions of an unelected party leader have to be accepted," he said, addressing the counsellors present in the courtroom.
The chief justice, "Is this state of the economy because of the court or because of instability?"
The chief justice added he wished to dispose of the case quickly and that the court only had two more judges available at the moment.
Speaking to journalists outside the court, former information minister and PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry acknowledged that judges didn't come under pressure, reported Geo News.
"The proceedings of the court are progressing in a positive manner," he said, adding that by empowering the parliamentary party, democracy will be strengthened.
Speaking on the occasion, the ex-state minister for communication Farrukh Habib said that a "fake" chief minister was ruling the province for the last three months.
"This is not possible that 13 ministers pressurise the judges by criticising them," he said.
Meanwhile, PTI's Secretary-General Asad Umar, while speaking to media persons outside the court, said that the court has given Hamza another chance, and added that he hoped that the court will announce its final verdict tomorrow, reported Geo News.
"Hopefully truth will take its course," he said, adding that the federal government is constantly criticising the federal government.
Meanwhile, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that there was only one reason for not forming a full court -- "fear".
Taking to her Twitter handle in reaction to the SC's verdict, she wrote "Fear of the contradiction of its own decision."
Saying that she was "almost sure" that a full court will not be formed, Maryam added that when the decisions aren't taken in accordance with the Constitution, law, and justice, then the formation of a full court is deemed dangerous, reported Geo News.
"Involvement of honest judges in the bench highlights the flaws of the decisions taken earlier... and people know that the decisions were taken on personal preferences," Maryam added.
In another tweet, she wrote: "You (the three-member bench hearing the case) took away 20 votes from us and now you have also awarded 10 votes cast by PML-Q members to PTI.
Earlier in the day, the SC had reserved the verdict on the petitions filed by CM Hamza Shahbaz and other bar associations -- seeking the formation of a full court for the hearing of the case -- after it heard arguments from party lawyers, reported Geo News. (ANI)