Hours after Supreme Court’s Justice Athar Minallah released his detailed note on the suo motu notice proceedings on the delay in holding elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the government on Friday demanded Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial step down.
In his note, Justice Minallah wrote that the case was dismissed by 4-3.
Addressing a press conference, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said: "Chief justice has now become controversial. Therefore, the chief justice should resign."
The crisis persists as the demand comes a day after the National Assembly passed a resolution rejecting the three-member Supreme Court bench’s "minority" verdict on the Punjab elections and made it binding on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet not to implement the decision.
Justice Minallah was among the judges who rejected the suo motu notice taken by the CJP regarding the delay in polls in KP and Punjab on the advice of an SC bench hearing the Ghulam Mehmood Dogar case.
CJP Bandial had formed a nine-member bench to hear the suo motu case. However, two of the nine judges recused themselves from the case, while four — Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Yahya Afridi, and Justice Minallah — had dismissed the case.
In the note, Justice Minallah reiterated that the “manner and mode” in which these proceedings were initiated had “unnecessarily” exposed the court to political controversies.
Aside from eroding public confidence, the assumption of suo motu may “raise concerns in the mind of an informed outside observer,” he explained, adding that this would also prejudice the rights of litigants whose cases are pending.
The information minister said that when the court’s proceedings become controversial and even the judges of the top court refused to accept the judgement — then how will the people accept the verdict.
“Justice Minallah neither separated nor rescued himself from the bench,” Marriyum said citing the judge. "It is not a matter of elections but an issue of “bench fixing”, she added.
“Justice Minallah note is a question mark,” she also said.
Without naming PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the info minister said that it was not acceptable for them when a Constitution breacher is facilitated by the judiciary.
Berating the judiciary, Marriyum said that PTI leader Asad Umar was heard by the court but it refused to listen to the 13 other political parties.
Referring to the SC’s verdict on elections in Punjab, she said: “You are interfering in the powers [jurisdiction] of parliament.”
She added that parliament will decide about the elections, not Imran Khan.
Article 63-A(1)(b) of the Constitution was rewritten to facilitate 'ladla' [Khan], the minister said, adding, “Controversial judges were included in the three-member bench.”
She said that no political party ever evades elections, but the polls should be held on the completion of constitutional tenure of the assemblies and at the same time across the country and should not be susceptible to the whims of any individual.
More to come...
"ECP will fulfil its responsibility to conduct fair and impartial elections," says Murtaza Solangi
15 journalists along with ex-prime minister's 25 lawyers allowed to attend case proceedings tomorrow
Caretaker minister says a new mobile application has been designed to assist pilgrims
Social media users were left shocked as the news of Bilal Pasha's death spread
Shahzad Akbar says he was in touch with UK agencies after his brother was arrested in Pakistan
We will take part in elections at any cost, we need funds from overseas regions, says Zulfi Bukhari