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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’s aide kickstarts PTI funding campaign in Europe




LONDON: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Zulfi Bukhari has kickstarted a mass mobilisation and fundraising campaign for the party in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Addressing a workers’ convention in High Wycombe in London along with Sahibzada Jahangir, one of the founders of PTI, Zulfi said that the mass mobilisation and fundraising has been started for the elections scheduled for February next year.

“We will take part in elections at any cost. We need funds and effort from the overseas regions. The party needs funds for its legal challenges as well for the election campaign,” he said.

Zulfi said the entire leadership is prepared for the elections and will not be deterred by the arrest threats.

The former cabinet member said he will be going to Pakistan himself as soon as the party leadership directs him, adding that he was prepared to go to jail.

However, it is unlikely that Zulfi will be travelling to Pakistan anytime soon as the caretaker govt has requested Interpol for his arrest. He was in Dubai when the Interpol request was made, he left UAE and since then has not travelled outside London.

Zulfi said he will be personally visiting cities in the United Kingdom and Europe to raise funds.

The PTI leader revealed that the campaign in the UK is scheduled to start shortly and arrangements are in place. He said the PTI Core Committee was meeting daily to discuss affairs of the party to formulate strategies on a daily basis.

Zulfi Bukhari has so far stayed away from PTI UK events but his decision to take part in mobilisation suggests he has been asked by the leadership in Pakistan to engage with the local chapter.

Two weeks ago, he told an audience at the University of London that making Usman Buzdar Punjab’s chief minister was a mistake but Imran Khan did the right thing by not sacking him.

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Bannu Cantonment Board CEO Bilal Pasha ‘commits suicide’




  • Police say Bilal Pasha was suffering from mental stress.
  • Police say they found his body at his residence. 
  • Inquiry launched into incident to find cause of death. 

BANNU: Bannu Cantonment Board chief executive officer Bilal Pasha has allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself, the police said on Tuesday. 

According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Cantt Azmat Khan, Pasha was suffering from mental stress for several days which led to his suicide. 

The police said that they found Pasha’s body covered in blood inside his residence where he shot himself. They added that his body had been moved to the District Headquarters Hospital, Bannu.

According to a media report, the police have launched an inquiry into the incident to find whether Pasha committed suicide or was murdered. They also said that he had a bullet wound in his head. 

Following the funeral prayers, which were held at the premises of the cantonment board, the body was sent to Pasha’s hometown Khanewal for burial. 

The news of Pasha’s death, who was a distinguished CSS officer, spread across social media which left everyone in shock. Several reports had also claimed that the CEO had died of a cardiac arrest.  

People across social media demanded an investigation into the matter, saying that the police should find out whether it was a suicide or someone murdered him. 

Bilal belonged to Punjab and began his primary education in a mosque-established school. He then studied at Emerson College Multan and graduated in Agriculture from the University of Faisalabad. 

He also secured 47th rank in the CSS examination. 

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Arrest Marriyum Aurangzeb and present in court on Dec 9: Lahore ATC




  • ATC Judge Abher Gul Khan directs SHO to execute orders. 
  • Arrest orders issued for non-appearance in court. 
  • Aurangzeb accused of making hate speech against Imran Khan. 

LAHORE: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore on Monday directed the police to arrest Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Marriyum Aurangzeb in a hate speech case and produce her in court on December 9.

The orders were issued by ATC Judge Abher Gul Khan who directed the station house officer (SHO) concerned to execute the arrest warrants of Aurangzeb.  

The non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against the former information minister for not appearing before the court.

A terrorism case has been registered against Aurangzeb, Mian Javed Latif, state-run Pakistan Television’s Managing Director Sohail Khan and others for allegedly trying to incite hatred by using the religion card against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

Latif and Aurangzeb were accused of making controversial remarks at the behest of their party leadership in order to spread religious hatred against the former prime minister.

In the previous hearing, the ATC judge cancelled the non-bailable arrest warrant against Latif after he appeared before the court.

Advocate Farhad Ali Shah representing Javed Latif and Marriyum Aurangzeb appeared before the court.

During the hearing, Judge Khan inquired about the whereabouts of the PML-N leaders and was informed that Latif had appeared while Aurangzeb had not.

Consequently, the judge issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for the former information minister and directed all suspects named in the case to appear before the court on December 9.

The issuance of the warrant came after the political leaders’ initial failure to appear in court. The judge set December 9 as the deadline for the prosecution to respond to the former information minister’s application seeking acquittal.

In her plea, Aurangzeb asserted that she played no role in the alleged incitement through her speeches in talk shows. She distanced herself from any claims made against her during these shows emphasising her innocence and requesting acquittal.

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