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Pakistan: Coalition govt boycotts SC's proceedings on plea seeking formation of full bench for Punjab CM's election case

ANI | Updated: Jul 26, 2022 11:19 IST

Peshawar [Pakistan], July 26 (ANI): Pakistan's ruling coalition on Monday announced a boycott of the proceedings of the apex court of the country after it rejected the petition seeking the formation of a full bench for hearing the case of the Punjab chief minister's election.
Leaders of the ruling parties in the coalition government termed the SC decision "unacceptable", and gathered at a late-night press conference held at the PM Office, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, to plan their future line of action, the Dawn reported.
The top leadership said that they won't acknowledge any decision announced by the three-member bench, alleging that it was inclined towards the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and 'favouring' the party, but were ready to accept the decision of a full court.
Rejecting the apex court's refusal to a full court, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said, "Any verdict announced by the three-judge bench hearing the case would be considered partial," adding, "The government would not appear before this bench."
"The government wants no interference in its affairs and seeks a continuation of its policies for which it will also suggest parliament legislate to ensure respect to the people and judiciary's verdicts," the Dawn quoted him as saying.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior vice president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the case at hand would be a test for the SC.
"Justice demands that if a question has been raised over a bench or judge, they should recuse themselves. This is the supremacy of the law. It is for this bench to decide how their conduct will go down in history," he added.
Taking to Twitter, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz claimed that people now knew decisions in the country were made over personal likes and dislikes.
"When the decisions are not in accordance with the constitution, law and justice, there is a danger from the full court. Because with the involvement of honest judges, the flaws of the decision come to the fore and people know that the decision is not the constitution and the law, but personal preference. It has been done on the basis of dislike. But do anything now, people know!" she tweeted.
Resuming the hearing of the government's appeal for the last time after multiple breaks late at night, the court rejected the plea to constitute a full court and adjourned the hearing till Tuesday morning (today).
According to the brief verdict of the Supreme Court, 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.
Speaking at the Press Conference, Maryam Nawaz said there were many respected judges in the apex court, and questioned why they were not hearing cases.
"One or two judges, who have always been anti-PML-N and anti-government, are repeatedly included in benches," she remarked, adding that "bench-fixing is as big a crime as is match-fixing," she added.
She cited several examples of the PML-N leadership's legal woes and claimed that its leaders were being discriminated against and lamented that court decisions were favouring the PTI despite the fact that it consistently mocked the judicial system.
She questioned the state of justice in the country where decisions were handed out in favour of those who "abuse and bully institutions" the most.
Speaking of the Court's decision to appoint Hamza as 'trustee' chief minister of Punjab, Maryam questioned, "Have you ever heard of a trustee chief minister?" Since the day Hamza was elected, he was not allowed to work. "He has been shuttling between parliament and courts. What kind of justice is this?" Dawn quoted her as saying.

Foreign Minister and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari asserted that only three people could not decide the country's fate, or whether this country would be run through a "democratic system, an elected system or a selected system".
"Certain powers are unable to digest that Pakistan is moving towards democracy and people are making their own decisions," he commented, without mentioning whom he was pointing at.
"It has been three months since Khan's ouster as the premier and some powers, people, political parties and conspirators are unable to tolerate... a campaign is being run to keep Imran Khan at the forefront," Bhutto-Zardari alleged, adding that the campaign was a conspiracy against the country's economic progress and democratic journey.
"We did not let any conspiracy succeed in the past and we will not let it happen now. We want institutions to remain uncontroversial and function within the ambit of the Constitution," he said.
Other senior leaders of the ruling alliance present on the occasion included federal ministers Rana Sanaullah, Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Sherry Rehman, Khurram Dastgir, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Asad Mehmood, and PM's Adviser Amir Muqam.
Meanwhile, on Monday, during the hearing, 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.
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."
CJP 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, a 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 said, "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.
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)