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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court directed on Saturday the proceedings of Parliament under Article 95 of Constitution ought to be conducted strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has prayed before the apex court to direct the speaker of the National Assembly to discharge his duties, perform his functions and dispose of the proceedings on the motion for no-confidence against the prime minister strictly in accordance with the 1973 Constitution, and the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.

It also prayed to protect the vote of no-confidence against the prime minister, anticipated to be held on 28-03-2022, from the illegal and unconstitutional actions of the respondents. Any attempt to sabotage, disturb or distort the vote of no-confidence, offends not only the sanctity of the Constitution, but also the people’s right to be governed by a government of their choice.

A two-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, heard SCBA President Ahsan Bhoon’s constitutional petition, filed under Article 184(3) of Constitution. The court had fixed the petition for hearing on Monday (March 21) but heard it on Saturday.

The court order said in so far as the political aspect of the proceedings under Article 95 of Constitution is concerned, that is a non-legal matter, which does not relate to the jurisdiction of the Court.

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It said the proceedings under Article 95 of the Constitution are being conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

The attorney general assured the Court of the federal government’s commitment to the process under Article 95 of Constitution to be followed strictly in accordance with the law. The court issued notices to the respondents in the petition for their assistance in this matter of ensuring a smooth, lawful, and peaceful completion of the process under Article 95 of the Constitution.

The bench issued notices to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Balochistan National Party-Mengal, and Awami National Party through the parties’ secretaries generals. The political parties have been asked to appear through their counsel, saying it will not hear the party leaders, as the question involved is purely legal.

The Inspector General of Police, Islamabad, Muhammad Ahsan Younus, was directed to file a report on the incident and what action was taken against the protesters, and about the status of their cases.

At the onset of the hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan informed about the unpleasant happening that took place last evening (Friday) at the gate of the Sindh House situated in Red Zone in Islamabad.

The PTI workers on Friday stormed the Sindh House in Islamabad after protesting outside for hours against dissident MNAs who are staying in the building.

Television footage showed PTI workers climbing over the walls of Sindh House with some of them later breaking down the doors to enter the building. They also carried ‘lotas’ in protest against “turncoats”.

The AGP candidly expressed enough regrets over the incident, where the Sindh House main gate was damaged. He informed that an FIR has been lodged by SHO Secretariat. Following that FIR, 13 protesters were arrested under various sections of the PPC 146, 147, 149, 186, and 427, which are bailable offences. The AGP informed that they were granted bail by the executive magistrate.

The attorney general also informed that the federal government is filing a reference under Article 186 of the Constitution for delineating the scope and meaning of certain provisions mentioned in Article 63A. He said: “I have started the process and file the reference on Monday (March 21). Upon that, Justice Bandial said they shall hear it on Monday at 1pm.

Earlier, the chief justice, while reference to attack on Sindh House, inquired from the attorney general; “What would you say on the freedom of expression and the right to protest? What would you say on yesterday’s incident?” He said; “Public property and national institutions were threatened. Members [of the National Assembly] and institutions should be protected in accordance with the Constitution.”

The CJP said the incident went against the freedom of speech, to which the AGP agreed, saying that there was no justification for it. The chief justice remarked; “We are not concerned with what is happening. We are here for the Constitution’s implementation.”

SCBA President Ahsan Bhoon on March 17 filed a constitutional petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and made federation, through secretaries, Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence, the prime minister, the leader of the opposition, the speaker and the secretary National Assembly, the chief commissioner and the inspector general of police, Islamabad as respondents.

The Bar has requested the court to direct the respondents and/ or their officials and/ or anyone else acting on their instructions/ orders charged with the duty to maintain law and order in the Islamabad Capital Territory to prevent any assembly, gathering, public meetings and/ or procession, which can create any hindrance or has the effect of preventing the members of the National Assembly from reaching the Parliament House and the Parliament Lodges.

He also asked the court to restrain the respondents and/ or their officials and/ or anyone else acting on their instructions/ orders from hindering or preventing or creating any obstacles to any Member of the National Assembly from attending the session of the National Assembly, as and when summoned.

The court was further asked to restrain the respondents and/ or their officials and/ or anyone else acting on their instructions/ orders from taking any coercive measures/ actions against and including, arrest and detention of the members of the National Assembly.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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