SC not convinced on intervening in NA affairs: CJP Bandial


Supreme Court of Pakistan. Photo: AFP/ file
Supreme Court of Pakistan. Photo: AFP/ file

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court is not convinced about intervening in the proceedings of the National Assembly, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial said on Monday while hearing a plea filed by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).

The SCBA had filed a plea seeking the apex court’s order against public gatherings in the federal capital, ahead of voting on the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan after the government and Opposition announced to hold rallies in Islamabad.

A two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, was hearing the SCBA’s plea.

During the hearing, three bigwigs of the Opposition — PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman — along with other opposition leaders arrived at the SC to attend the hearing of a separate petition filed by SCBA.

At the outset of the hearing, the lawyer representing SCBA said that the NA Speaker was told to summon the assembly meeting on March 25 while it has to be convened within 14 days of the submission of the no-trust motion under Article 95.

“The court is not convinced on interfering in the NA’s affairs. It only wants that no one’s right to vote is affected,” CJP Bandial remarked during the hearing.

Listening to the arguments by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) regarding the delay in the voting on the no-confidence motion, which was filed on March 8, the CJP said that that “these are the internal matters of the assembly,” adding that it would be better to fight internal battles inside the premises of the Assembly.

The SCBA had filed a petition in the SC seeking the court’s intervention to prevent “anarchy” as the government and Opposition parties have announced to hold rallies in the federal capital.

The petitioner’s lawyer highlighted that under the Article 95, the speaker of the National Assembly has to summon a session with 14 days from the time when the no-confidence motion is filed.

The CJP asked the association what is the problem with no-confidence, alleging that the petitioner’s lawyer has not come prepared.

Won’t make any political statements: Bilawal

Earlier, while speaking to the media before the hearing, Bilawal said that he wouldn’t make a political statement in the apex court’s premises.

“Instead, we will wage a political struggle,” the PPP chairman said.

He said that the political parties did not file a legal petition against the NA speaker in court.

“We haven’t dragged the Parliament to the court’s doorstep. SCBA filed a petition and nominated us as parties.”

Bilawal further stated that all their hopes are attached to the court because political decisions are taken under the Constitution and laws.

“We will pursue our Constitutional and legal struggle through lawyers,” he added.

Fazl terms govt ‘illegitimate’

In his address to the media, Fazl said that it is the first time that he is appearing before the SC.

“This government is illegitimate. Do you want to create sympathy for such an incompetent government,” he said.

Continuing his criticism of the government, Fazl asked if the elected representatives failed that the matters have reached the courts.

He said that court is also an institution of Pakistan.

“Is it correct for the history that an election has to be held every three years. Is it correct to reach out to the court against the prime minister?”

SCBA petition

In its petition, the SCBA said that all the parties must be restrained from acting against the Constitution of the country.

It said that both sides had expressed their intentions to gather, and protest at a mass scale in Islamabad in the wake of the vote of no-confidence against the premier and feared that the gatherings may turn violent.

More to follow…

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