The Supreme Court of Pakistan has resumed the hearing of Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi’s petition against the provincial chief minister’s election today.
A three-member apex court bench, comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhter, is hearing a plea at the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry filed by Elahi — who was also the candidate for the chief minister’s slot.
Elahi secured 186 votes against 179 votes of PML-Nawaz’ Hamza Shehbaz. However, Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari rejected 10 votes of the PML-Q lawmakers on the basis of a letter from party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who said that his party did not support Elahi.
The bench resumed the hearing of the case at 1pm.
Hamza moves court to form full bench
PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz filed a petition in the Supreme Court to form a full bench on Elahi’s petition and also requested the court to hear the appeal for revision of Article 63-A.
In his petition, Hamza requested the court to hear the appeals of the deviant members against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decision along with hearing Elahi’s plea.
Read: ‘Trustee CM’ inducts 37-strong Punjab cabinet
“July 22nd ruling of the deputy speaker is correct,” he maintained, adding that the PTI’s dissident lawmakers' appeals are still pending against the decision of the electoral watchdog, wherein the ECP had disqualified 25 lawmakers who had not voted in line with the part’s instructions during the April 16 election of the provincial chief executive.
According to the petition, the situation would be “radically different” if the apex court upholds the deviant members' appeals, and the votes given by the 25 deviant members are considered.
Hamza stated that since the ECP upheld Imran Khan's letter of instructions against deviant members, Chaudhry Shujaat's letter to his MPAs must also be considered “under the Constitution and the law”.
Heavy police deployment
Meanwhile, the SC implemented a ban on the entry of political leaders citing “security concerns” raised due to a “crowd” gathering in the court.
Sources told the Express Tribune that the passes that had previously been issued to political parties were also canceled and only parties to the case and their legal counsel were allowed to enter the court
A large number of police officials have been deployed at the apex court as tensions remain high in anticipation of the SC hearing today.
Large numbers of Rangers, FC and police personnel are seen on the court premises.
Diversion placed for both sides of traffic from Zulfiqar Chowk to G-9 Signal of Rohtas Road.
Alternatively, G-9 Service Road can be used. https://t.co/sBUwbBmX7q
— Islamabad Police (@ICT_Police) July 25, 2022
Road blockages and diversions were also placed along Zulfiqar Chowk to Rohtas Road.
سپریم کورٹ میں اہم سماعت۔
فریقین کے رہنماؤں کو سپریم کورٹ انتظامیہ کی اجازت سے کورٹ روم/سپریم کورٹ میں داخلہ دیا جائے گا۔سپریم کورٹ میں داخلے کےلیے پارٹی رہنماؤں کی جانب سےلسٹیں مہیا کی گئی ہیں۔ریڈ زون بشمول سپریم کورٹ کے اردگرد ہرگز کسی جلسے ، جلوس اور اجتماع کی اجازت نہیں۔ 1/2
— Islamabad Police (@ICT_Police) July 25, 2022
Ahead of the crucial proceedings in court today, the Islamabad Police has urged party leaders and political workers to enter the premises only with the SC’s permission.
Furthermore, the police have stated that political gatherings and processions of any sort will be “strictly not allowed”.
They stopped media and lawyers from entering the premises. “Only those whose names are on the list are allowed to enter the courtroom,” an official told lawyers trying to enter the premises.
Shujaat, PPP fil petitions
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, head of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), filed applications with the SC requesting to be made a party to the deputy speaker ruling case that is currently being heard by the court.
Chaudhry Shujaat in his application to the court said that he “wrote a letter to the Deputy Speaker on July 22” and argued that Dost Mazari had “disregarded the votes on the basis of the letter”.
“The votes given to Pervez Elahi by the PML-Q MPAs were in violation of Article 63” furthered the application and requested the court to make Chaudhry Shujaat a party to the case as he was “the relevant party in the case”.
Earlier a request was also made by the PPP lawyer Farooq Naik after PML-Q leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervez Elahi moved the SC over Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari’s decision to disregard the party members’ votes in the provincial chief executive’s election.
Read More: Ruling coalition seething over SC ruling on Hamza's 'trustee CM' status
The application says that the PPP being “one of the largest political parties of Pakistan ought to be affected by any decision made” by the court as it interprets Article 63-A of the Constitution of Pakistan and therefore pleaded that it was a “necessary party” to the case.
Citing senior party leader and former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani’s case where seven votes were disregarded costing him the election, the petition said the PPP leaders "have always been victims of circumstances including political maneuvering, martial laws and coups resulting in the ouster of elected governments followed by judicial murder and assassinations.”
“Thus, it would be in the interest of the public at large if the applicant is impeded as a party and heard before any order is passed by this Honourable Court while interpreting Article 63-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973,” read the application.
The PPP petition also said that if it is "not heard in this matter of great importance not only [the] PPP as a political party will be condemned unheard but also all the members” and implored the court that "refusing to hear the above-named applicant would be oppressive to judicial conscience and would cause a perpetuity of injustice which would not be tolerated by a just judicial system.”
'Shujaat's letter not received'
PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi spoke to the media outside the court and claimed that nine of the party MPAs had not received Chaudhry Shujaat's letter wherein he had requested the deputy speaker to disregard PML-Q member's votes in the Punjab CM elections.
"I have brought the nine MPAs with me to the court," said Moonis, adding that they will give their testimony in front of the bench today.