ISLAMABAD: All coalition partners of the ruling alliance have authorised Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to devise a way for disassociating from the case pending in the Supreme Court on the delay in the Punjab and KP assemblies elections.
Well-placed sources in the PDM told The News that the prime minister had an extensive discussion with Law and Justice Minister Senator Azam Nazir Tarrar and some other constitutional experts on Saturday evening on ways to boycott the hearing of the case by the Supreme Court. The consultations continued till late in the evening. They also sought feedback from Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan. The consultations are likely to continue today (Sunday) after the prime minister’s return to Islamabad from Lahore in the afternoon.
In the meanwhile, the sources pointed out that if the government opts to boycott the proceedings of the Supreme Court, it wouldn’t constitute contempt of the court. However, it would draw contempt charges if any untoward comments are made by the aggrieved party before or after the verdict is handed down. In that case, the fight could get another undesirable turn. The PDM is prepared to face any eventuality on account of its stance on the partisan approach of the judges, but the contempt process could divert the public attention from the real issue.
Interestingly, the court is yet to allow any of the ruling alliance parties to be made a party in the case and hence the attorney general will alone avail the rights of hearing when the proceedings will start tomorrow (Monday), the sources added.
The reference will be filed against all the three judges, including the chief justice separately once the government/parties decide to knock on the doors of the Supreme Judicial Commission against them. However, the sources said that no decision had been taken by the PDM parties about filing references against the judge/s at this stage. The component parties were of the firm view that the proceedings of the three-member bench are utterly void in the light of the March 1, 4-3 verdict. They also had serious reservations about the inclusion of a judge on the bench who had already recused himself from the proceedings.
Boycotting the proceedings and filing of reference against the judge/s is in line with the Constitution and law, which is the right of litigants. They have pointed out that it is the universal right of a party to the case to raise objections about the court and the presence of a judge if the party has any grievance or complaint about him.
In the normal course, the judge or judges whose presence on the jury is objected to by either party, voluntarily recuse. Unfortunately, in the election case, judges insisted on becoming part of the bench that would adjudicate on the issue. For this reason, the parties of the ruling alliance would raise their voice against this approach of the judges, the sources said.
The sources further said that the two federal secretaries who have been summoned by the court wouldn’t appear before the court on Monday in the light of the decision of the PDM alliance but the final decision would be taken today in the evening. As an option, the federal secretaries could appear before the court and then give statements about the instructions of the government before the court, the sources added.