The Supreme Court is hearing a petition filed by the PTI and PML-Q against Punjab Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari’s ruling in the election for chief minister. The three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, is hearing the case at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry.
The deputy speaker has been summoned by the court at 2pm. “We wish to hear from the deputy speaker in person,” Justice Bandial said. Furthermore, the top court has sent notices to Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz, the Punjab chief secretary and the advocate general for Punjab.
The deputy speaker refused 10 votes from the PML-Q, in accordance with the apex court’s opinion in the presidential reference for the interpretation of Article 63A, which dealt a severe setback to Pervez Elahi and created an opportunity for Hamza Shahbaz to keep his position as chief minister.
The petition was filed late last night after the Opposition saw a setback when their candidate, Elahi, only received 186 votes instead of the 176 votes he received after the deputy speaker’s ruling. Hamza, the candidate from the opposing party, received 179 votes. The Opposition has vowed to challenge the ruling.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan, issuing its verdict on the presidential reference seeking the interpretation of Article 63(A) of the Constitution related to defecting lawmakers of the PTI, said that the law cannot be interpreted in isolation back in May. The court ruled that the votes of dissident members of the Parliament (MPs), cast against their parliamentary party’s directives, cannot be counted.
During yesterday’s ruling, Article 63(A) was applied after PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain wrote a letter to the deputy speaker, saying that he had directed the party to vote for Hamza Shahbaz. The ruling has invited criticism from legal wizards as several believe that Mazari’s decision was not in line with the Supreme Court’s order.