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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday turned down the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s petition challenging the phase-wise acceptance of the resignations of its Members of National Assembly (MNAs), and declared that the then deputy speaker Qasim Suri issued notification of acceptance of the resignation is “in violation of the Constitution”.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Tuesday heard the petition moved by PTI Central Secretary General Asad Umar praying the court to direct the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to de-notify all the MNAs of the PTI and declare the seats as vacant and dismissed the same.

During the hearing, the IHC bench asked the counsel for the petitioner Party to justify the constitutionality and legality of the manner in which the resignations were tendered and purportedly accepted by the acting speaker.

The bench stated in its written order that the counsel, despite his able assistance, was not able to persuade the court that the judgment in the case of Syed Zafar Ali Shah, supra was distinguishable nor that the resignations were dealt in consonance with the principles and law highlighted therein.

It added that the petitioner Party is essentially seeking a writ to enforce the purported notification, dated 13-04-2022. “Admittedly, there is nothing on record to show that the resignations were accepted in accordance with the principles and law highlighted by this Court in Syed Zafar Ali Shah’s case, supra,” maintained the bench.

Justice Minallah noted, “The purported notification, dated 13-04-2022, was; therefore, issued in violation of the Constitution and the principles and law enunciated by the superior courts as highlighted in the aforementioned judgment. Moreover, the Court is satisfied that the process initiated by the worthy Speaker in order to verify the genuineness of the resignations is in consonance with the Constitution and the settled principles and law.”

He further noted that, if so advised, the petitioner Party may approach the worthy Speaker requesting the latter to expedite the process.

The IHC chief justice declared, “Having regard to the principles and law highlighted in Syed Zafar Ali Shah’s case, supra, the Court is not inclined to grant the prayers sought in the petition in hand. The petition is merit-less and, therefore, accordingly dismissed.”

The IHC’s verdict stated that according to the judgment in Syed Zafar Ali Shah’s case the doctrine of political question; therefore, guides a Court in ensuring that the Constitution is enforced and implemented as intended by its framers.

The Court can neither encroach upon nor usurp the powers clearly vested in the other organs, nor allow others to do so. The Court itself is a creation of the Constitution and derives its powers there under, and has been entrusted with the function of jealously guarding the scheme of separation of powers as envisaged by the framers.

He further quoted that the judiciary, as an organ, has been empowered to interpret the Constitution and the laws, and applying such interpretations to the matters brought before us.

The court also mentioned that according to the report submitted on behalf of the National Assembly Secretariat, 131 resignation letters were received. Two members, Mohammad Nawaz Allai and Jawwad Hussain later informed in writing that their resignations were not genuine.

According to the stance of the Secretariat, the resignations were not notified and the file was resubmitted to review the decision regarding acceptance of the resignations and Qasim Khan Suri resigned on 16-04-2022 from the office of Deputy Speaker and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly.

The latter, on 16-04-2022, gave a ruling in the House pursuant to point of order raised by one of the members, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, directing the Secretariat to resubmit the resignations for verification in the light of the past rulings and precedents of the superior courts.

In his petition, Asad Umar had stated the parliamentary committee of his party had decided to resign from NA collectively as it wanted to get a fresh mandate but the resignations were being accepted on the basis of pick and choose.

He was of the view that the speaker National Assembly had no authority to keep the matter of resignations as pending.

Therefore, the petitioner prayed before the court to direct the ECP to de-notify all MNAs of the PTI and declare the seats as vacant.

He also prayed before the court to declare all the resignations as accepted.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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MalikSaabSays Sep 07, 2022 09:49am
As previously courts have dictated when and how assembly session should take place, IHC could have directed federal bodies like ministry of parliamentary affairs to ensure the matter of resignations is proceeded upon on a daily basis in accordance with the quoted judgements supra. Alas, "meri kursi, meri marzi" is at work once again.
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