ISLAMABAD (our reporter):- The ruling alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman on Monday night announced that the coalition partners would boycott the three-member bench of the Supreme Court hearing the Punjab chief minister’s election case.
Addressing a press conference accompanied with Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other alliance leaders, he said for the supremacy of law and justice, they had given a genuine proposal to constitute a full court bench for hearing the particular case but their suggestion was not accepted. Hence all the coalition government partners had decided to boycott the further proceedings of case from tomorrow, he added.
Fazl alleged that “keeping in view the three-member bench’s track record, its verdict will be considered partial”. There were certain court decisions in the past, which had impeded the smooth functioning of government, besides creating political instability and economic recession in the country, he claimed.
PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari endorsed the decision and said their demand for a full court bench was not accepted, which they had made for the sake of Constitution, democracy and judiciary.
He said the coalition was making the demand as the case was related to another institution parliament and actions of Punjab Assembly’s deputy speaker.
He said when the case regarding vote of no-confidence against the former prime minister and ruling of the Punjab Assembly’s deputy speaker was heard, his party even then demanded that full court should hear the case.
“Today we are repeating our demand so that the court decision can be acceptable to everybody including the government and the opposition.”
“When one institution is hearing case of another institution it should be better for democracy that full bench of the court should hear the case, to maintain trust of the people.”
He said controversial decisions would cause political instability in the country.
PML-N Vice President Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said it was a “test case” for the apex court and it was also a requirement of justice that a judge or a bench recused themselves from a case if fingers were pointed at them.
“This is done in every court in the world” for the sake of justice, he added. It was upto the “three judges” whether their verdict would be accepted or not by the people, Khaqan said.
PML-N leader and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal claimed that when 197 members of the Punjab Assembly had voted in favor of Hamza Shehbaz, the Supreme Court issued a ‘disputed order’, deseating the 20 members.
However, the legal experts and two judges of the five-member bench were of the view that the votes of 20 members should have been counted as per the law, he added.
The minister maintained that the review petition on that case was still pending in the Supreme Court and the country was made to plunge in another crisis.
He said the 20 assembly members, whose votes were not counted for the Punjab CM’s election, were de-seated on the direction of Imran Khan, who viewed that being a party head, all the members were bound to obey his directive.
Ahsan Iqbal said being heads of their respective parties, the directions of both Imran Khan and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain must be given equal importance.
He claimed that when Imran Khan was defeated on the political front, he approached the judiciary for getting his defeat turned into a victory.
“We want to see the Supreme Court an independent and sovereign institution, which should implement the rule of law and should not indulge in any kind of controversy.”
He said the government alliance’s only demand was that if the Supreme Court formed a full court bench then the whole Pakistan would accept the decision.
He said it was beyond understanding why the instant case was being concluded in haste and why the three judges were insisting to hear it.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Osama Qadri announced his party’s full support for Pakistan Democratic Movement’s decision to boycott the three-member SC bench’s proceedings.
He said, “We feel there will be confusion and lack of trust on the order if the three-member bench continues its hearing on the matter while the full court’s verdict will be acceptable for everyone.”
He said that honourable institutions should respect the wishes of the citizens of the country.
Member Balochistan Awami Party Sardar Israr Tareen, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement Abdullah Nangyal and Member of the National Assembly Aslam Bhootani also endorsed the coalition partners’ decision.