PUNJAB (PAKISTAN): The Pakistani Supreme Court has summoned Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari for citing Article 63A of the Constitution and not counting the votes of defecting lawmakers as well as electing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hamza Shahbaz as Punjab Chief Minister.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) filed a petition against Mazari’s ruling to reject 10 PML-Q votes in Punjab CM’s elections, media reports said.
According to local media ARY News, a three-member bench of the Pakistan SC, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, summoned the Deputy Speaker and led the proceedings of the case on Saturday.
In addition, the top court also summoned the Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz, attorney general, chief secretary Punjab and advocate general Punjab, and further directed the deputy speaker to bring the record of the CM Punjab election.
Following the counting of votes, the deputy speaker, while citing Article 63A of the Constitution, rejected ten votes cast by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) members. As a result, Hamza received 179 votes, while Elahi managed to bag 176 votes.
Notably, the Supreme Court in its decision on a presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution which is related to the status of defecting lawmakers, said the votes of defecting lawmakers will not be counted.
The chief justice, during the hearing, said that there is nothing in their (SC) decision that the deputy speaker mentioned during the assembly proceedings.
“We are here to learn and will summon the deputy speaker so that he could identify the paragraph from the apex court’s decision which he used to decide on the matter,” he said.
On the occasion, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan said that the party head could only report on the violation of the orders by the parliamentary party. “It is a democratic tradition that the parliamentary party decides on the matters within the assemblies,” he added.
The court later adjourned the hearing for 2:00 pm. In the petition, the PTI had stated that in the election for the Punjab CM, the deputy speaker gave an unconstitutional and illegal ruling of rejecting 10 votes, as per the media portal.
The petition stated that the ruling violated the apex court’s decision with regard to the interpretation of Article 63 A of the Constitution and asked the court to annul the ruling.
Following the political drama, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hamza Shehbaz on Saturday took oath as Punjab Chief Minister.
This is the second time that Hamza defeated Elahi in the contest for the Punjab CM. Back in April, his oath-taking had been delayed for days with then then-governor, Omar Sarfaraz Cheema, refusing to administer the oath to him.
After the “surprising” victory of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hamza Shahbaz as the Chief Minister of Punjab province, former prime minister Imran Khan’s supporters staged a protest outside the headquarters of the Peshawar Corps Commander and chanted slogans “Hum Leke Rahenge Azadi”.
Protesting the outcome of the Punjab CM election, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters are demonstrating in all major cities including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.