Ruling coalition boycotts SC's proceedings on Punjab CM election

Ruling coalition boycotts SC's proceedings on Punjab CM election

Islamabad (Web Desk): The coalition partners of the government have announced to boycott Supreme Court’s (SC) proceedings in case pertaining to the re-election of Punjab chief minister.

The coalition parties decided to boycott court’s proceeding after a three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar turned down the government's request for constituting a full court to hear the pleas regarding Punjab CM re-election.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Monday night alongside the other coalition partners, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief and head of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Maulana Fazlur Rehman said any verdict announced by the three-judge bench hearing the case would be considered partial. Rejecting the apex court’s refusal to a full court, he said 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.”

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and PPP Co-Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that when a decision is being taken about an institution, the entire bench should hear the case.

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 supremacy of the law. It is for this bench to decide how their conduct will go down in history.”

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan ((MQM-P) leader Usma Qadri, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) leader Agha Hassan Baloch, MNA Aslam Bhotani were also present on the occasion and supported the decision of the coalition.

Earlier, the bench rejected the coalition government's plea to constitute a full court to hear the matter pertaining to election of Punjab CM.

Announcing the judgment, the top court asked for more arguments and legal clarity regarding the coalition government's plea for formation of a full bench.

CJP Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the court needed more clarity to decide about the formation of full court.

CJP Bandial maintained that a full court had been formed in the past in a matter of utmost importance and added that the full bench could be formed in complex issues.

The three-member SC bench is hearing a petition filed by Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Peervez Elahi against Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari’s decision in re-election of the provincial chief minister which led to Hamza Shehbaz’s victory.

On Friday, the Punjab Assembly deputy speaker had dismissed Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid's (PML-Q) 10 votes after party head Chaudhry Shujaat asked them to vote in favour of Hamza, but they did not follow his instructions.

But the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pervez Elahi did not accept this and approached the SC.

At the previous hearing on Saturday, the court had allowed Hamza to remain "trustee" chief minister till Monday (today).

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz Sharif has filed a separate petition, seeking formation of a full court bench in a case against his election, a demand which had also been reiterated by leaders of government's coalition parties in press conference in Islamabad on Monday.