Pakistan

All eyes on SC as politics enter blind alley

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The role of the Supreme Court is said to be crucial in the coming days as the national politics appears to be entering a blind alley.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday asked the federal government's attorney Makhdoom Ali Khan to take instructions from his client if they will sit with the PTI MNAs to review the NAB law amendments in case they return to parliament.

Likewise, former prime minister Imran Khan's counsel Khawaja Haris was also asked to get instructions whether they were joining parliament.

Both the counsels will share the replies of their clients today (Wednesday).
Subsequently, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted the resignations of 35 PTI MNAs.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan, who is hearing several high-profile cases, already wondered how the NA speaker could adopt a policy of pick and choose regarding the acceptance of the PTI MNAs’ resignations.

The PTI already moved a petition in the apex court for the acceptance of their MNAs’ resignations. The matter’s still pending.

Since April, CJP Bandial was urging the PTI leadership to join parliament.
A PTI lawyer said that the party had different options. One Imran Khan could contest by-elections on 35 vacant seats. Secondly, they could approach the SC for early hearing regarding the acceptance of their MNAs’ resignations.

On the other hand, the ruling PML-N leadership was very upset more over the present economic situation than managing the PTI.

“No brother country is willing to come to our rescue until the revival of the IMF programme which requires tough decisions but that will extremely damage the political capital of the PML-N in near general elections,” a senior PML-N member said.

An economic analyst elaborating the tough decisions said that the government had to increase oil, electricity and gas prices. Likewise, the exchange rate should have been revived.

He warned that if the IMF programme was not revived till March, the country might default.

It is also learnt that the PML-N had deliberated on the option to extend the caretaker government, if they dissolved the National Assembly. However, they had no solution in the Constitution in this regard.

Senior lawyers were not optimistic that CJP Bandial who was retiring in September, would allow delay in the general elections on any reason for an indefinite period.

The debate also continued over the consequences in case Imran was disqualified in the Toshakhana case in the next couple of months.

“I do not think Imran will support the delay in elections in case of his disqualification. Even he will increase campaign for elections to gain majority for overturning his disqualification,” a political analyst said. However, one section of society said that if Imran would be minus from the electoral politics, the interest of the PTI supporters would be lesser in general elections.

However, the role of the superior court would be significant to decide the fate of Imran after conclusion of trial in the Toshakhana case. Imran held an important meeting to devise a strategy in the Toshakhana case.

Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja met with CJP Bandial. It is learnt that the CEC requested the CJP to provide judicial officers to perform duty of Returning Officers for elections in Punjab.

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