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Sunday July 14, 2024

Ex-PM questions rationale behind three-member bench

Nawaz Sharif called for a full court to be formed to hear a petition by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the delay in elections to the Punjab Assembly

By Murtaza Ali Shah & News Desk
April 01, 2023
Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) supremo Nawaz Sharif addressing a press conference in London on March 31, 2023. Photo provided by the reporter.
Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) supremo Nawaz Sharif addressing a press conference in London on March 31, 2023. Photo provided by the reporter.

LONDON: Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) supremo Nawaz Sharif on Friday called for a full court to be formed to hear a petition by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the delay in elections to the Punjab Assembly.

Asking to find out the rationale behind the retention of a three-member bench despite wide-ranging objections, Nawaz Sharif said how could the verdicts from such a contentious bench be acceptable. Speaking at a press conference in London, Nawaz Sharif expressed his concerns over the situation, describing it as a “terrible joke” being played on the people of Pakistan. He urged the nation to become awake to the severity of crises and said some judgments are being criticised as being made to facilitate ‘one individual’ only.

Sharif said the attorney general, several judges and civil society are demanding a full court to hear the election issue. This is a major issue with ramifications for the entire nation and not a minor issue that can be brushed aside. The nation, he said, needs to find out the reason behind the insistence on keeping this three-member bench, which is being severely objected to across the board.

Nawaz said when the present bench of the three judges has become so contentious, then how would its verdict be accepted or even respected?

But, he said, a verdict by the full bench would be wholeheartedly accepted. Nawaz said, “I wonder why these three judges emerge every time to preside over the fate of the nation. They were on the bench that disqualified me while justices Nisar and Khosa have now retired but they remain. To me, this seems to be a continuation of the 2017 episode.”

Nawaz said he had heard that the chief justice became overwhelmed with emotions in the court today (Friday), and termed it good if it happened due to the fear of God. Nawaz charged that all decisions are being made for one man, Imran Khan, and the courts enjoy his confidence and not that of the nation.

On suo motu notices, the PMLN supremo said despite revelations made by Justice Shaukat Siddiqui and General Bajwa’s self-evident statements, no suo motu was taken. He revealed that he plans to shed light on why he was disqualified as the prime minister. He said he was wrongly disqualified but no one took a suo motu notice of that grave injustice. He demanded answers from those responsible for his disqualification, stating that the decision was made for the sake of one person.

Nawaz claimed the decision to disqualify him from his position harmed the future of the country. He asked former chief justice Saqib Nisar and other retired judges of the apex court why he (Nawaz) was shown the door. They must reveal the truth about the whole episode and his role should be scrutinised, he asked. It seems they are bent upon forcing verdicts of their choice on the nation, Nawaz Sharif charged.

He lamented the fact that Pakistan was forced into debt and dependence on foreign aid. Furthermore, he criticised the wrong decisions made by those in power, which have ruined the country’s economy. He emphasised that the poor are unable to afford medicines and are forced to sell their belongings to pay for their medical bills.

Nawaz Sharif also expressed his disappointment over the state of Pakistan’s economy, stating that just a few years ago, Pakistan was on track to joining the world’s top developed countries. The country had said goodbye to IMF. In 2017, the people were prosperous, and the country’s foreign exchange reserves were at their peak.

“However, now we find ourselves in a position where we are begging for one billion dollars,” he said. Today, the country is forced to request financial assistance from friendly nations, including a recent request for one billion dollars.