ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan Monday rejected the prayer of Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujat Hussain and Deputy Speaker Punjab Dost Mohummad Mazari to form full court to decide the petition against the ruling of Punjab deputy speaker on PML-Q votes for CM election.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Muneeb Akhtar conducted hearing of the petitions Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) and Speaker Punjab Assembly Pervaiz Elahi, who was also contesting election for the CM Punjab office.

In the eight-hour long hearing, the counsels representing Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz, Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari and Chaudhry Shujat Hussain demanded that the full court be constituted as the interpretation of the Constitution is involved. They also requested the Court that it may hear the petitions of PTI and Elahi along with the review petitions against the President Ordinance and the appeals of the PTI dissenters against the Election Commission of Pakistan verdict to de-seat them.

Advocate Salahuddin Ahmed who represented the PML-Q President said in the court that people are aware of the past wonders of the Sharifs of Model Town and glory of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat. He said that heaven would not fall if Pervaiz Elahi or Hamza Shahbaz becomes the Chief Minister of Punjab. He said if the people would take this impression that a few judges of the Supreme Court decide every important political and constitutional matter then in my submission ‘yes heaven’ would fall.

Justice Ijaz noted that in the instant matter there is the issue of lack of clarity in understanding of the Article 63A of the Constitution and the Supreme Court judgment on the Presidential Reference on Article 63A.

Justice Ijaz further observed that the facts of the “dissident members [case] and the facts of this case are different”. He added that they did not get any evidence or instructions for the position of the defecting members.

The judge said that in this matter, the issue is different and all 10 members cast their votes. No member voted for the other side. All of them voted for the same side. Out of the 10 members, not a single one said that the parliamentary party did not meet.

He further said that in the case of the PTI’s defecting members, Imran Khan had issued directives but the lawmakers had claimed that they did not receive a show-cause notice. Justice Ahsan said that this was the matter in the defecting lawmakers’ appeals.

The Chief Justice also added that in the appeals, it is not the position of the dissenting members that the instructions were not received.

Salahuddin argued that the apex court judgment in the cases of Rawalpindi District Bar Association case, Zulfiqar Bhutta is clear that the political head is important and give the direction. He pleaded that all the matters – review against the Supreme Court judgment, appeal against the ECP be heard by all the judges of the judiciary so that there is consistent view of the interpretation of the Article 63A, whether the direction be issued by the parliamentary party or the political party head. All these issues be thrashed out by the Full Court. He contended that the party head issues the tickets to the candidates to contest elections and they contest on the party symbol.

Rejects ruling allies’ demand for larger bench to dispose of petitions

against Punjab deputy speaker’s ruling on PML-Q votes cast in favour of Hamza Shehbaz for CM post n CJP Bandial says in the polarised environment it is important to decide the issue expeditiously to

resolve crisis n Court resumes hearing today at 11:30am

Justice Ijaz said that it is written in the Article 63A and the apex court judgment that the direction is issued by the parliamentary party head and not the political party head. He said that in this case no direction was issued by the parliamentary party, adding the Deputy Speaker took out the letter from his pocket and announced that the President PML-Q has advised the members not to give votes to the Pervaiz Elahi as he is the candidate of PTI.

Salahuddin informed that it is wrong that Ch Shujat had not conveyed its reservation before the voting. He said that he has documents which would show that the letters were written to the PML-Q MPA before the voting day i.e. 22-07-22.

Salahuddin said that when there is polarisation and there is division and fissure in the society then it the collective wisdom of the judges that can pacify the people. He said that on the case of 21st Amendment the Full Court was constituted.

Justice Bandial said that in the polarised environment which exists it is important that the issue is decided expeditiously so that the political crisis resolved. He added that the crisis has been brewing and festering since April this year. You want to prolong the matter further by constituting the Full Court to hear it. “We can’t allow that the matter is prolonged and dragged. He further said that the economic situation is becoming worst day by day. Currency is falling and every citizen is affected by the economic crisis. He questioned whether all these things are happening due to the Supreme Court?

Irfan Qadir, representing the Deputy Speaker, said that in Justice Qazi Faez case, a 10-member bench of the Supreme Court had heard the case. He said that all the social media is saying that why only three judges hear every important constitutional and political matter. He asked the bench to constitute Full Court to dispel this impression. He said that when the litigant show slightest element of biasness against any judge then he does not think twice to recuse from the bench.

He said that why the bench is eager to give quick judgment on the petition of a political party. He said that why the counsel of Pervaiz Elahi is emphasizing on it that the same bench should hear the matter.

Irfan Qadir said that the PML-Q head had refrained his members from casting vote in favour of PTI, who called Pervaiz Elahi dacoit. He requested the court not to decide the case in hurry.

Farooq H Naek, counsel of Pakistan Peoples Party, sought time till Thursday to argue the case. The bench declining his request adjourned the case till today at 11:30am.

Earlier, Ch Shujat and Hamza Shahbaz had filed their replies to the petitions of the PTI. 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 in case that is currently being heard by the court.

Chaudhry Shujat 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”.

He further said, “The votes given to Pervaiz Elahi by the PML-Q MPAs were in violation of Article 63.” He requested the court to make Chaudhry Shujat a party to the case as he was “the relevant party in the case”.

PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz 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 63A.

In his petition, Hamza requested the court to hear the appeals of the PTI’s ‘deviant’ members against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decision along with hearing Elahi’s plea.

He said, “July 22 ruling of the deputy speaker is correct.” He maintained 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 party’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 Shujat’s letter to his MPAs must also be considered “under the Constitution and the law”.