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Punjab CM election: Legal wizards weigh in on Deputy Speaker PA Dost Mazari’s ruling



On Friday, the much-awaited election for the chief minister of Punjab, as against PTI’s expectations, took a dramatic turn and PML-N’s candidate Hamza Shahbaz successfully retained the province’s top post, defeating Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi with three votes.

Following the counting of votes, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari, citing Article 63(A) of the Constitution, rejected 10 votes cast by PML-Q members. As a result, Hamza received 179 votes, while Elahi managed to bag 176 votes.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan, back in May, had ruled 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, had said that the law cannot be interpreted in isolation.

During today’s ruling, Article 63(A) was applied after PML-Q President, Chaudhry Shujaat, wrote a letter to the deputy speaker, saying that he had directed the party not to vote in anyone’s favour. According to the party, it was PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari who had convinced Shujaat.

In response to the decicion, members of the PTI and its allied PML-Q, contested that Sajid Bhatti was the party’s parliamentary leader, therefore, Shujaat’s letter held “no value”. Unable to convince Mazari, the PTI said it would now approach the SC against the deputy speaker’s decision. 

To understand the situation better, Geo News and reached out to legal experts to share their two cents on the situation.

‘Unconstitutional move’

Shedding light on the matter, senior PTI leader Barrister Ali Zafar claimed that the ruling of the deputy speaker was “unconstitutional”, adding that the SC will soon issue a verdict on the matter.

He said that when it came to casting a vote of no-confidence, the party head had no role to play, adding that the parliamentary party was the first one to decide who to vote for.

Zafar said that at the time of the no-confidence motion, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had written a letter to the National Assembly speaker, while notices to the defecting members were issued by the general-secretary of the party.

‘Ruling legally flawed’

Barrister Ahmed Pansota, speaking to, said that in his view, under Article 63(A), the  party parliamentary head’s directions cannot be disregarded. 

“In today’s case, PML-Q’s parliamentary party head was apparently Sajid Bhatti, who had directed members to vote for Pervez Elahi. Therefore, the deputy speaker’s ruling appeared to have been legally flawed and the 10 votes of PML-Q members have been wrongly pushed aside,” he said.

He added that since the candidate for the CM’s post (Elahi) was from the same party, how could the party members vote against him, especially in light of the recent SC judgement.

About the application of Article 63(A), Pansota opined that the law concerned is being widely misquoted. “I, therefore, think that if the PTI approaches the SC, a verdict will be decided in favour of Elahi.”

‘Ruling in line with SC’s order’

Talking to Geo News, Supreme Court Bar Association’s (SCBA) president Ahsan Bhoon said that the deputy speaker’s ruling was “in line with the orders of the Supreme Court”.

“We had previously objected to the decision of the SC because it should have made decisions under the Constitution of Pakistan instead of favouring one person,” Bhoon said.

‘Deputy Speaker’s decision not correct’

Agreeing with Barrister Pansota and Ali Zafar, former senator Aitzaz Ahsan said: “I think the decision of the deputy speaker was not correct because the first part of Article 63(A) talks about the discretion of the parliamentary party, while the second part sheds light on the decision-making power of the party head.

“There is wisdom in that [clause] because the parliamentary party can make better decisions,” Ahsan said, adding that what Zardari did (by convincing Shujaat), “was his right as that is what politicians do”.

“If Shujaat only sent the letter to the deputy speaker, then it has no legal status,” he said.

‘Ridiculous legal wrangling in Punjab Assembly’

Agreeing with other lawyers, Barrister Asad Raheem Khan said that the deputy speaker’s ruling was “entirely illegal”. 

“The text of Article 63(A) is clear: voting is per the direction of the parliamentary party, and not the party head,” he said, adding that the speaker also misinterpreted the Supreme Court judgment. 

“The party head only comes into play during defection proceedings. Prior to casting the vote, it is the direction of the parliamentary party that must be taken into consideration,” he said, adding that neither the letter of the law nor the judgment of the Supreme Court enables the deputy speaker to reach the ruling he did. 

“This is ridiculous legal wrangling in the Punjab Assembly,” he opined.

‘Case will now be decided by same SC that put us here’

Lawyer Salaar Khan explained the verdict in “simple terms”, saying that the deputy speaker refused to count PML-Q’s votes because Shujaat wrote a letter directing members of the party to vote for Hamza, not Elahi.

“This was possible because the SC, in May, held that votes against the directions of a party’s head couldn’t be counted — a decision criticised by many at the time. But it is now the law. That particular SC decision benefitted the PTI and led to today’s elections,” said the lawyer.

However, the legal expert said that it was not as clear as it seemed. 

“The deputy speaker said the SC had clarified that if the ‘head’ of a political party issued directions, votes contrary to it could be excluded. But that’s not what the SC said and that’s not what the law says,” wrote Khan in a Twitter thread.

“The Constitution says that votes contrary to the directions of the ‘Parliamentary Party’ will render you liable to disqualification. The SC, in its order, added that those votes won’t be counted either. The deputy speaker’s interpretation re: the Head was his own.”

The lawyer also said that the Supreme Court has not clarified whether directions of the party head is equivalent to the directions of the party itself. 

“Again, the PTI’s own precedent casts a shadow over this. PTI disqualified defecting members because they voted against Imran Khan’s directions; there was no decision by a majority of members. But once again, all of this will now be decided by the same SC that put us here,” said the lawyer. 


Imran Khan appears before LHC to seek protective bail in two cases




Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday appeared before the Lahore High Court (LHC) to seek protective bail in two terrorism cases filed against him in Islamabad. 

The former prime minister, who left his Zaman Park residence a while ago, is on his way to the high court. 

Two cases were registered against Khan and several PTI leaders in Islamabad’s counter-terrorism department (CTD) and the Golra police stations.

Cases were registered following clashes between the PTI workers and the police outside Federal Judicial Complex after Khan reached there to appear before a trial court to attend the hearing of Toshakhana case last week.

According to the police, the protesters resorted to arson and vandalism, and attacked the law-enforcement officials who were performing their duty to maintain law and order in the capital.

The FIR stated that the workers destroyed a police checkpost and broke the main gate of the judicial complex.

As many as 18 people were arrested for arson, pelting stones, and vandalising the judicial complex’s building, said the FIR.

“About two police vehicles and seven motorcycles were burned, and the official vehicle of the station house officer (SHO) was damaged,” it added.

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Imran Khan’s nephew Hassaan Niazi arrested for ‘misbehaving with police’




  • Niazi shifted to undisclosed location, police sources say.
  • PTI claims Imran’s focal person had obtained bail in all cases.
  • Islamabad police deny arresting 10-year-old during raid.

Hassaan Niazi, the nephew and focal person of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on legal affairs, was arrested from outside an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad on Monday, police officials told Geo News.

He was arrested for “misbehaving with the police and resisting” at a checkpost, police sources said, adding that he has been shifted to an unknown location.

Niazi’s arrest came after his appearance at the ATC where a hearing of cases registered at Islamabad’s Ramna police station against PTI leaders and workers was being held.

Meanwhile, Advocate Faisal Chaudhry has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for the release of the PTI leader. The petition stated that “police abducted Hasaan Niazi from the premises of Judical Complex after he obtained bail in a case.”

Senior PTI leaders including Shibli Faraz, Omar Ayub, Raja Khurram, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, and Farrukh Habib also appeared before the court of ATC judge Raja Jawad Abbas for obtaining bail which was approved.

The bail applications have been approved till April 3 against surety bonds worth Rs50,000.

During the hearing of the cases, the ATC judge remarked: “There are so many suspects that [we] will have to check the history back and forth.”

All of the aforementioned leaders as well as the party’s workers had been booked under terrorism charges for the violence that erupted outside the judicial complex on Saturday where Khan had appeared in the Toshakhana case.

The PTI workers had clashed with police and caused damage to public property. They also set fire to 10 police motorcycles outside the judicial complex and overturned a police officer’s car.

Hassaan Niazi “abducted”, PTI claims

Meanwhile, the PTI claims that Khan’s focal person on legal affairs has been “abducted” by Superintendent of Police Nosherwan Ali Chandio, despite securing bail on all cases registered against him.

“It is the peak of police brutality. Hassaan Niazi, a lawyer whose bail was just approved by the court, has been abducted,” the party tweeted.

“Barrister @HniaziISF has been abducted illegally by @ICT_Police’s SP Nausherwan despite being on bail. We condemn this fascism and demand his immediate release,” the Insaf Lawyers Forum tweeted.

The forum demanded that the country’s chief justice take notice of this “blatant violation of laws.

“The Rule of Law in Pakistan stands suspended,” the tweet read.

PTI leader Farrukh Habib wrote that the police were deployed on both sides of the ATC, so that “they could arrest” them.

“According to lawyers, the police repeatedly said that they have received special orders to pick up Hassaan Niazi and Farrukh Habib. The lawyers informed me about their intentions; I dodged them and escaped after securing bail,” he wrote on Twitter.

PTI Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry, taking to Twitter, called Niazi’s arrest “unacceptable”.

“Arrest of @HniaziISF is unacceptable, he has been arrested from Court premises despite bail call upon ILF lawyers and Bar Associations to join in the protest,” Fawad wrote in his tweet.

Condemning the development, the party’s secretary general Asad Umar said that the Constitution seems suspended following Niazi’s arrest.

“Hassaan Niazi has been arrested despite getting bail from the court. The Constitution now appears to be suspended,” his tweet read.

ICT rubbishes claims of “children arrested”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the Islamabad police has rubbished the PTI’s claims of arresting a 10-year-old terming it “propaganda” against the police and other law enforcement institutions.

“Police have not arrested any 10-year-old minor child. A hateful propaganda is being carried out on social media to stop [us] from fulfilling our lawful duties,” the spokesperson said.

The ICT added that the police are performing their responsibilities while remaining within the scope of the law.

“The law is equal for all. Parents should keep their younger children away from crowds,” the spokesperson stated.

Earlier today, the PTI chief also claimed that the police in Islamabad raided homes without warrants to abduct PTI workers and “picked up” their children as young as 10 years old when the workers weren’t at home.

“Fascism at unprecedented levels with police in Islamabad raiding homes without warrants to abduct PTI workers. Where the worker is not present, children as young as 10 yrs are picked up,”

Khan further demanded the “immediate release” of his party’s workers and their children.

“We demand the immediate release of all our workers and their children who have been abducted,” he wrote in his tweet.

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PDM huddle to discuss future course of action today




  • Meeting summoned after Shehbaz’s meeting with Maryam.
  • PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to participate via video link.
  • Schedule of next general elections to be discussed in meeting.

ISLAMABAD: Amid a worsening political crisis in the country, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has convened an urgent meeting of his coalition partners today to discuss the future course of action vis-à-vis Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, sources said.

The huddle was summoned after the premier’s meeting with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz in Lahore.

Officials, privy to the meeting, shared that Maryam held a detailed meeting with the premier and discussed the party’s future strategy to deal with the PTI chairman.

Sources said both the leaders discussed in detail the recent incidents at Zaman Park and Imran Khan’s visit to Islamabad. 

“They also discussed providing relief to the citizens during the holy month of Ramadan apart from the political and economic situation of the country.”

It was decided in the meeting that Shehbaz would call a meeting of the allied parties of the PML-N government and brief them to about the situation. 

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif would also participate through a video link.

Sources said the schedule of the next general elections will also be discussed in the meeting and recommendations will be sought from the leadership of allied parties.

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