ISLAMABAD: Pakistan‘s ruling coalition has asked Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to form a full bench of the Supreme Court to preside over the petition filed against the contentious re-election of Hamza Shehbaz as the chief minister of Punjab province, calling it an important national, political and constitutional matter.
Hamza, the son of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, on Saturday took oath as the Chief Minister of the Punjab province, a day after he was re-elected to the post by just three votes amidst high drama when Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari rejected 10 crucial votes of his rival candidate Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.
In the 368-member Punjab Assembly, Hamza’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) received 179 votes, while Elahi’s party garnered 176 votes.
Ten votes of Elahi’s Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) were not counted on the pretext that they had violated the orders of their party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
Elahi, who was also backed by former premier Imran Khan‘s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, later moved the Supreme Court (SC), which allowed Hamza to remain as the “trustee” Punjab province Chief Minister till the hearing resumes on Monday but barred him from using his powers for “political gains” during this period.
After the apex court’s decision, the ruling alliance issued a declaration, asking the Chief Justice of Pakistan Bandial to constitute a full bench of the Supreme Court (SC) to hear the petition against Hamza’s election, calling it “an important national, political and constitutional matter”.
The declaration stated that the Constitution had drawn a clear line of authority between the legislature, judiciary, and the administration, which an “arrogant, anti-constitution and fascist” person was trying to erase, Daen newspaper reported.
The joint statement said ousted premier Khan was repeatedly creating chaos in politics to avoid accountability, conceal his corruption and regain power through covert means.
“He (Imran) wants the system as well as the economy to go bankrupt,” the declaration alleged.
The ruling parties said Khan’s mentality and behaviour were proving detrimental to the affairs of the state.
“All the coalition parties will move forward together on every platform and in every field to eradicate the darkness of fascism,” the document said.
The component parties of the ruling coalition, including the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), said in the declaration that they would not compromise on the Constitution, democracy, and the right of the people to rule.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah in a statement said “courts’ decisions are like open books” for the people. He said the current political crisis had emerged after 25 votes polled in favour of the ruling coalition were rejected in the last election for the Punjab chief minister in April.
Punjab Home Minister Ataullah Tarar said the formation of a full court had now become all the more necessary in view of the constitutional crisis prevailing in the country’s most populous province for the last several months.
Federal minister for climate change and PPP leader Sherry Rehman said that Friday’s chief minister’s election was in line with the Supreme Court’s decision.
“Imran Khan is challenging the elections, but on what basis? Why is PTI forgetting that it was them who had gone to the Supreme Court with a presidential reference filed by President Arif Alvi in May to seek the interpretation of Article 63A, after which the SC decided that votes of dissident members of parliament would not be counted,” she added.
She said Khan, ever-popular for his U-turns, was now at the SC’s doorstep asking it to reinterpret Article 63A.
“This isn’t some back-and-forth game Imran Khan should be allowed to play. There is hope that a full bench of the Supreme Court will interpret this constitutional issue,” she said. Article Source