ISLAMABAD: The ruling coalition, led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Monday night announced boycott of the hearing of a petition, filed against Punjab deputy speaker’s ruling on voting for election of the chief minister, following rejection of their demand for constitution of the full court bench of the Supreme Court to hear the case.
Addressing a press conference along with leaders of coalition partners of the government, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman said they had decided that they would not appear before the three-member bench and boycott hearing of the case.
“Following rejection of our demand for formation of full court bench of the SC, we are no more part of the petition filed against ruling of deputy speaker of Punjab. We boycott the hearing process,” Fazlur Rehman told a news conference, while announcing a decision of a consultative meeting of the ruling coalition partners at the Prime Minister’s House.
PM Shehbaz Sharif chaired the consultative meeting, which was called to discuss the strategy following rejection of appeals for constitution of full court bench to hear petition against ruling of the Punjab deputy speaker.
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal and other leaders were also present.
Fazl said they also wanted to convey that the incumbent government wanted an end to a series of such decision of the judiciary which created unrest in political system and ended continuation of government’s policies.
In this connection, he said a suggestion would be given to the government, parliament and the prime minister for legislation so that the nation could have trust in decisions of judiciary, which would also result in economic stability in the country. “We will soon give good news to the nation in this regard,” he said.
He said the coalition government lawyers gave suggestion to the three-member bench of the SC, as per the law and the Constitution, but unfortunately the bench showed partiality and rejected demand of the government.
“Now this is a decision of the coalition government that we also reject this decision of the judiciary,” he added.
Foreign Minister and PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari endorsed the decision of the ruling coalition, announced by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, saying that all democratic parties of Pakistan had one demand that the important hearing about the parliament should be done by the full bench. “We reject the Supreme Court decision of three-member bench as we wanted the full court should hear the case,” he added.
The PPP chairman said when one institution was giving decisions about another institution, it was better that the full court should sit to give the decision. “The people of Pakistan will accept the decision of only a full court,” he said.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said after objections had been raised on the three-member bench, these judges should disassociate themselves from hearing of the case. “The three judges should decide now whether history will accept their verdict,” he added.
Ahsan Iqbal also said that there was no reason for rejection of appeals for constitution full court bench for hearing of the case.
Earlier in the day on Monday, top leadership of the coalition government demanded that Constitution, Parliament and decisions of parliamentarians should be respected.
Law Minister Azam Tarar recalled how a five-judge bench had earlier stated that the party head had the most powerful position in the party. “The way the Constitution is being interpreted cannot be understood at all,” he claimed, insisting that the seven votes discarded during the chairman Senate elections needed to be brought up as well.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said: “This is a demand of all coalition partners that a full court bench should be constituted, as three people cannot decide the fate of the country.” He said: “We want the country to run through a democratic process”, adding that he could see people who wanted to make this country a “one-unit” system”; they could not digest that Pakistan was moving closer to democratic norms and that the public was making its own decisions.
PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz alleged that a specific anti-PMLN bench had been constituted for a one-sided decision, and warned that ‘bench-fixing’ was also a crime like match-fixing. She said suo motu notice should also be taken for what she said constitution of an anti-PMLN bench and ‘bench-fixing’.
Khalid Magsi, Mohsin Dawar, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Tariq Bashir Cheema and other leaders were also present.
Maryam said: “Did any court take suo motu notice against Imran Khan? Are the suo motu notices only for the PMLN and its allies,” she asked.
Maryam said it would be wrong to say that early elections should be announced if courts give wrong decisions and Imran Khan resorts to uncivilised attitude. “We do not want to remain in government with this limping democracy, but there is process for holding elections and we cannot gift them government in plate,” she said.
She said Nawaz Sharif would return to the country but it would not be acceptable if he was imprisoned. “Despite facing all odds, we snatched five seats in Punjab bye-elections from the PTI, which they won in 2018 elections,” she said.
Also, taking to her Twitter handle in reaction to the SC verdict, Maryam said the full court bench was not formed due to ‘fear’. She said there was only one reason for not forming a full court, ‘fear’. “Fear of the contradiction of its own decision,” the PMLN leader wrote.
In another tweet, Maryam said she was “almost sure” that a full court would not be formed. “When the decisions aren’t taken in accordance with the Constitution, law, and justice, then the formation of a full court is deemed dangerous,” she added.