ISLAMABAD: In an apparent move to pick a fight with the superior judiciary, the ruling coalition of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Thursday passed a resolution rejecting the decision of a three-judge bench of Supreme Court in the Punjab elections delay case.

On April 4, the apex court nullified a decision by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to delay the elections in Punjab province from April 30 to October 8, ruling the move was unconstitutional, without lawful authority or jurisdiction, void ab-initio, and of no legal effect.

A day ago, in a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had described the apex court’s verdict a “mockery of the constitution and law” and said it could not be implemented.

Supreme Court's recent decisions made mockery of Constitution: PM Shehbaz

That statement by the prime minister echoed in National Assembly which not only passed a resolution against the Supreme Court’s April 4 verdict but also called the prime minister not to implement the ruling.

The resolution was moved by Balochistan Awami Party (BAP)’s – a party which is believed to be the brainchild of the powerful military establishment –Khalid Magsi.

“This house rejects the minority decision of the three-judge bench and binds the prime minister and the cabinet not to implement the unconstitutional and unlawful decision,” Magsi said as he read out the resolution.

It said that the house considers the conduct of general elections simultaneously across the country as the solution to all the problems, adding this is in accordance with the procedure laid down in the law and constitution for political and economic stability.

The resolution expressed concern over “interference in political matters” saying the judgements of the “minority” are creating anarchy in the country and paving the way for division in the federating units.

It also noted with concern the “wrong interpretation” of Article 63-A of the constitution and demanded the formation of a full court of the Supreme Court to review it.

The prime minister also came to the house for a brief time and left shortly after the resolution was passed.

Before the resolution was brought, the lawmakers belonging to the coalition government of PDM took turns criticising the Supreme Court and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

The flamboyant PTI MNA Mohsin Leghari – as the party has only two MNAs in the house – strongly opposed the resolution, saying “we should follow the law and constitution instead of getting emotional.”

He said that the government should hold election within 90 days and the house must not be turned into a “jalsagah”, adding “We should not wage a battle between the parliament and the Supreme Court”.

“We should not push matters towards a battle between the two institutions. The government wants to pressure the apex court about delaying election in the country which is not a good omen,” he added. He said that the house is constantly discussing matters which are sub judice which neither the law nor the rules permit, and what we are doing is a clear contempt of court.

Maulana Asad Mahmood, who is the son of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), said that the parliament of Pakistan is the federal and supreme legislative body of the country but Supreme Court of Pakistan does not pay any heed to its prestige.

“We’re not asking the apex court to take decisions in our favour, but we, the lawmakers, are only requesting for constituting a full court bench to hear the matter pertaining to elections in the country,” he added.

He said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was the main target in the past and it is still on the hit list. He assured the PML-N that the JUI-F will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with it for the sake of democracy.

He also made it clear that we will not allow undermining powers of the prime minister and the Election Commission of Pakistan.

He also claimed that no one can force the PDM for holding talks with PTI chief.

Shazia Marri of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said that the House respects the courts but they should also understand the trichotomy of power, they should understand that every institution needs to be paid a certain amount of respect.

She said the Constitution defines the role of all the institutions that function in the country, and it (the Constitution) has to be upheld — “not the ego of one person”.

“There has to be a separation between the executive and the judiciary,” she added. “We also have to accept that the executive should not interfere with the judiciary, which I accept that I should not interfere in the matters concerning lordships, the same way lordship should not interfere with executive matters,” she added.

Sabir Hussain Qaimkhani and Qamar Zaman Kaira and others also spoke on the occasion.

Earlier, the house passed a resolution strongly condemning the recent Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Over 350 people were arrested on Wednesday as Israeli police attacked dozens of worshippers in the mosque’s compound before dawn in what Israeli police said was a response to rioting.

The incident sparked protests across the occupied West Bank and the Israeli military claimed nine rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel after sirens blared in southern towns.

The resolution was moved by Naz Baloch, who said the house strongly condemned the “brutal attack by occupied Israeli at Al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramazan”.

“Attacking innocent worshippers including women and children is a gross violation of human rights,” the resolution said. It said the house “stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine.”

The house demanded the international community, including human rights organisations, to break the silence on the violence.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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