ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial Friday said that the country would have to be taken towards a "mature democracy”.
The remark came during the hearing of the presidential reference seeking the interpretation of Article 63(A) of the Constitution. Supreme Court's larger bench — headed by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel — was hearing the reference.
"We have to take the country towards mature democracy and for that, it is necessary for the legislators to have a fruitful discussion," CJP Bandial remarked. He observed that the votes of the dissidents should not be counted to ensure national interest and to end the scourge of shifting loyalties. "Court's job is to answer all constitutional questions," he said, asking if the court is bound to answer according to the words stated in the reference or can it interpret otherwise.
Justice Mandokhel, while addressing PTI's lawyer Advocate Ali Zafar, said that political parties should treat "this cancer" on their own if they have any inconvenience because of it. "Only one political party is against dissidents. We have the majority of political parties that oppose your [PTI's] stance," Justice Mandokhel remarked. He asked if the PTI expects the court to rule in its favour while ignoring the majority's opinion.
Justice Muneeb Akhter, however, was of the view that the only graceful way for the deviant member was to resign and go home. He was responding to PMLN counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan’s argument that disloyalty to the party was different from disloyalty to the state.
Justice Mandokhel observed that according to Article 63A, a dissident lawmaker could cast his vote but he would subsequently lose his seat. Justice Miankhel observed that the party head could only give a declaration after the vote had been cast, adding that the party chief could inform the speaker even while polling was going on.
Justice Mandokhel pointed out that after the vote had been cast the party chief would first issue a show-cause notice and seek the dissident member’s reply.
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