Ruling coalition requests full bench in Punjab CM election case

The ruling coalition “strongly urged” the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Saturday to form a full bench to preside over petitions filed with regard to Punjab chief minister (CM) election.

The statement has come only hours after the Supreme Court (SC) began hearing Pervez Elahi's petition against Punjab Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari's ruling to disregard votes casted by MPAs of the Pakistan Mulim League-Quaid (PML-Q) during the Punjab CM election.

“It will only be fair for all respected SC judges to hear Supreme Court Bar Association’s (SCBA) review request, the present petition and other related applications together,” it said, noting that “these are very important national, political and constitutional matters”.

Pointing fingers at the SC ruling on Article 63A, the allied parties said “the cost of the resulting political instability is being paid by the country's economy, being pushed at the brink of bankruptcy” as well as by the “people in the shape of inflation, unemployment and poverty”.

Read Ruling coalition celebrates Hamza's re-election; PTI vows legal battle

Turning their attention to the ousted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chairman, the coalition said, “Imran Khan is repeatedly creating chaos in politics with the aim of avoiding accountability, hiding his corruption and gaining power by stealth”.

“The Constitution has drawn a clear line between the authorities of legislature, judiciary and the executive,” the statement read, “which an arrogant, anti-constitutional fascist figure is trying to erase”.

It went on to accuse Imran Khan of wanting to "destroy Pakistan’s Constitution, peoples' right to rule and democracy, just like the economy”.

Reiterating their commitment to the aforementioned three tenets, the ruling coalition parties said that there would be “no compromise” on the matter. Furthermore, the parties said that they would “proceed together” in a joint effort to “fight the darkness of fascism”.

Article 63A

By a majority of 3-2, the apex court had held on May 17 that Article 63A of the Constitution, which deals with defection, protects the fundamental rights of a parliamentary party rather than its members. Therefore, a vote cast contrary to the party line should not be counted, the opinion said.

According to the opinion, the dissident lawmakers were not allowed to vote against the party line in four instances including the election of prime minister and chief minister; a vote of confidence or no-confidence; a constitutional amendment bill; and a money bill outlined under Article 63-A.

Read more Elahi goes hit wicket!

Last night, Hamza Shehbaz was declared a victor after Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari ruled that PML-Q members’ votes were not counted in light of party head’s letter.

According to Mazari, Hamza received 179 votes whereas Elahi garnered 176 votes, but only after 10 votes of Elahi’s own party were not counted, which turned the tables in Hamza’s favour.

In line with the ruling of the Supreme Court verdict on Article 63-A, related to the defection, the deputy speaker said he had rejected the votes of PML-Q lawmakers.

Earlier, the SCBA had filed a petition in the top court for a review of the court’s May 17 opinion on the presidential reference regarding the interpretation of Article 63A, which is about the status of the defecting lawmakers.

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