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Elahi’s petition against Mazari’s ruling: SC proceedings via video link underway

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  • Pervez Elahi challenges Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari’s ruling.
  • Deputy speaker rejected 10 PML-Q votes, dealing a major blow to Pervez Elahi.
  • Case being heard at Supreme Court (Lahore Registry).

LAHORE: The Supreme Court is hearing PML-Q leader Pervez Elahi’s petition against Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari’s ruling in the Punjab chief minister’s election and has decided to conduct proceedings via video link.

The decision was made after the courtroom door was damaged following a rush of people trying to get through.

The video link room has been opened and only the respondents’ lawyers will now be allowed to be present in person.

The media is not allowed to enter the courtroom.

A three-member bench — headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar — is holding the hearing at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry.

The court had summoned Mazari, and sent notices to Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz, the Punjab chief secretary and the advocate general for Punjab.

Barristers Ali Zafar, Imtiaz Siddiqui, and Safdar Shaheen Advocate have appeared on behalf of Elahi, while Advocate Mansoor Usman Awan is representing Hamza Shahbaz.

Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari is being represented by Advocate Irfan Qadir.

Additional Attorney General Aamir Rehman and Advocate General Punjab Shahzad Shaukat have appeared for judicial assistance.

Among PTI leaders in the courtroom are Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhary, Umar Ayub, Zulfi Bukhari, Sibtain Khan, Umar Sarfraz Cheema, Usman Buzdar and Andalib Abbas.

The top court also sent notices to Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz, the Punjab chief secretary and the advocate general for Punjab.

As the hearing began, the chief justice asked Mazari’s lawyer if he has the waqalat naama (power of attorney) for Mazari, to which Advocate Qadir replied in the affirmative.

The first half of the hearing

Prior to the court being adjourned in the morning, PTI’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar informed the court that during yesterday’s Punjab Assembly session, re-election of the province’s chief minister took place.

Justice Ahsan asked the lawyer how many lawmakers were present during the session, to which he responded that 370 members of the assembly were in attendance.

Zafar argued that Elahi secured 186 votes and Hamza bagged 179 votes, therefore, in line with the Constitution of Pakistan, the PML-Q leader is the chief minister.

The SC’s opinion in the May order, Zafar said, states that the parliamentary party can give directions to lawmakers on whom to vote for, and the PML-Q’s parliamentary party decided to back Elahi, but despite that, Mazari dismissed 10 PML-Q votes.

“They ignored the parliamentary party’s decision,” Zafar said.

At this, the chief justice said that all the relevant parties — deputy speaker, chief minister, and Punjab attorney-general — should be issued notices so they can provide their version.

“We wish to personally hear from the deputy speaker. Only the deputy speaker can tell us which paragraph he was referring to,” Justice Bandial said.

CJP Bandial said that the deputy speaker should come to the court with all the relevant documents and not be “frightened” as this is “just a legal procedure”.

The CJP then adjourned the hearing till 2:30pm.

Later a short order was issued by the court.

“The matter in issue seems more likely to be a controversy regarding the proper understanding or comprehension of the statement of law in our aforesaid judgement (paragraph 3 in Article 63A’s order) rather than of interpretation as such of a constitutional provision,” the short written order read.

PML-N demands full bench hear petition

In a press conference shortly after the hearing started, senior PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar demanded that since this is a matter related to the interpretation of the Constitution, a full bench should hear the petition.

Senior PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar speaks to journalists in Lahore, on July 23, 2022. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive
Senior PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar speaks to journalists in Lahore, on July 23, 2022. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive

The PML-N leader said that court hearings related to constitutional matters that have taken place recently — since the no-confidence motion against ex-prime minister Imran Khan — warrant a full bench.

“Therefore, with the utmost respect, I request that a full bench be constituted to hear this case as well,” the PML-N leader said.

Lashing out at the PTI, Tarar asked how the people who were responsible for the ongoing constitutional crisis could justifiably approach the Supreme Court to resolve their issues.

Later, a joint statement was issued by the coalition parties, urging the chief justice to constitute a full bench to hear the case.

What Mazari did

The deputy speaker rejected 10 votes of the PML-Q, citing the apex court’s opinion in the presidential reference for the interpretation of Article 63A, dealing a major blow to Pervez Elahi and paving the way for Hamza Shahbaz to retain the chief minister’s slot.

Opposition (PTI and PML-Q) candidate Elahi managed to receive 186 votes, but after the deputy speaker’s ruling, the PML-Q leader got only 176 votes, whereas Hamza received 179 votes.

The petition was filed late last night after the Opposition — which was confident of a victory — suffered the setback and vowed to challenge the ruling.

SC order on Article 63(A)

The Supreme Court of Pakistan, back in May, had ruled that the votes of dissident members of the Parliament (MPs), cast against their parliamentary party’s directives, cannot be counted.

The apex court, 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.

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.

Elections

Shehbaz Sharif was chosen to serve as Pakistan’s 24th prime minister.

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Speaker of the National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq declared Shehbaz Sharif the 24th Prime Minister of the 16th National Assembly of Pakistan and the House Leader of the National Assembly’s Lower House after announcing the official results of the polling for the prime minister elections.

The National Assembly session began one hour later than scheduled. The Holy Quran was recited at the beginning of the session, followed by the reading of a Hadith and a Naat and Pakistan’s national hymn. The NA was attended by party heavyweights, PMLN chief Nawaz Sharif, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto, and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

The National Assembly Hall’s doors were closed per the directives of NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, and the voting procedure was finished in which Akhter Mengal and JUI-F did not take part in the voting process.  

Members of the Sunni Ittehad Council, supported by the PTI, staged protests and rallies against the PDM 2.0, an alliance comprising eight parties that is poised to form the central government. The PDM leaders are accused by PTI of stealing the mendate. The claims have been denied by the PPP and PMLN.

Aun Chaudhry, the head of the IPP, arrived at Parliament House. hundreds of Police, Rangers, and FC troops have been deployed, and there are strict security measures in place both inside and outside the Parliament for the National Assembly session.

Cars arriving at Parliament House are permitted entry after being inspected, but most significantly, regular visitors are not permitted during National Assembly sessions.

Cars arriving at Parliament House are permitted entry after being inspected, but most significantly, regular visitors are not permitted during National Assembly sessions.

Ayaz Sadiq, the speaker of the National Assembly, gave the oath to Jam Kamal, a member of the MNA from Balochistan and a former chief minister of the province.

Shehbaz Sharif was chosen prime minister of Pakistan on Sunday for a second time by the country’s recently established parliament. The creation of a coalition government had been delayed for three weeks due to unpredictable national elections.

Speaker of the National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq said, “Shehbaz Sharif is declared to have been elected the prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” after revealing Sharif had received 201 votes, more than the necessary 169 votes in the house

With 92 votes, he defeated Omar Ayub, the contender supported by imprisoned former prime minister Imran Khan.

The Khan-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) party loudly protested the statement. The MPs chanted chants claiming Sharif had won election fraud and demanded Khan’s release.

A mobile internet outage, arrests, and violence during the run-up to the election on February 8 caused problems for the proceedings, and the results’ abnormally long wait led to claims that the vote was manipulated.

Sharif resumed his position, which he maintained until August, when a caretaker administration was established in place after parliament was dissolved in advance of the elections. No one party took home the majority.

Sharif, 72, is the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister who led the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party’s election campaign.

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Pakistan

Asif Ali Zardari “seeks” the MQM-P’s endorsement for the presidential race.

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The ECP timetable states that voting in the presidential election will take place on March 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The examination of the nomination papers takes place on March 4, and at 1:00 pm on March 5, the final list of candidates for president will be revealed.

Asif Ali Zardari called Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui of the MQM-P one day prior to request his party’s vote in the presidential election, according to sources with knowledge of the incident.

According to the sources, Siddiqui stated he will reply after speaking with the party.

A PPP delegation is reportedly scheduled to meet with MQM-P shortly in order to solicit assistance.

Asif Ali Zardari’s candidature papers for the presidential elections were authorised in a separate transaction since no objections were voiced.

Farooq H. Naik declared, “We have the necessary numbers to win the election; Asif Zardari will be elected president again.”

Mehmood Khan Achakzai, the presidential candidate for the Sunni Ittehad Council, and Asif Ali Zardari’s attorneys previously appeared before the electoral commission to review the presidential nomination documents.

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Latest News

36% of fresh faces make it to the National Assembly.

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Following the general elections of this year, a record 36% of new members have joined the National Assembly.

There are now 96 new legislators that have been elected to the assembly out of 265 total. In the general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has elected the most number of fresh faces as Independents.

Of the new faces, eleven PPP and MQM members, as well as fifteen PML-N members, have become MNAs for the first time. The IPP’s Abdul Aleem Khan and Awn Chaudhry were elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

Ataullah Tarar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Mir Jamal Khan Raisani, the party’s youngest member, was also elected from Balochistan for the first time and made it to the lower house.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Latif Khosa, and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is supported by the PTI, are some of the fresh faces. In the last parliament, Shandana Gulzar had a reserved seat; however, this time, she was elected to a general seat.

Arshad Vohra, Syed Mustafa Kamal, and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM were also elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

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