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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Naeem Bukhari presents minutes of parliamentary NSC meeting

Senator Ali Zafar said, "Can Parliament interfere if there's a conflict between judges; The answer is no. The judiciary has to settle the matter. It can't interfere just like Parliament can't [interfere in judges' matters].

According to local media Naeem Bukhari, the counsel of former speaker and deputy speaker, presented the minutes the parliamentary National Security Committee meeting in the court. Responding to a question by Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan on whether a vote of no confidence could be dismissed on a point of order, replied in the affirmative.

The speaker’s counsel noted that there was no precedent of it but affirmed that the speaker has the authority to dismiss a no-confidence resolution. He further underlined that the assembly had been dissolved, and the country was moving towards fresh elections.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, questioned the Prime Ministers’ counsel, “how could article 58 be invoked when a no confidence resolution was underway,” to which he replied that the deputy speaker had dismissed the no-confidence resolution through his ruling.

Following the counsel’s reply, the Chief Justice remarked that “apparently the speaker had violated article 95 of the constitution when he issued the ruling.” The Prime Minister’s counsel replied that the speaker issued the ruling in view of an alleged foreign conspiracy against the country’s sitting Prime Minister. However, the counsel replied in the negative when he was asked if he knew when the speaker was intimated of the foreign conspiracy.

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The President’s counsel also presented his case before the court. The lawyer Ali Zafar replied in the affirmative when the country’s top judge noted that there was no constitutional crisis. Justice Miankhel questioned the President’s counsel whether the chief executive would be protected if the constitution was violated.

He asked the counsel, “Is Parliament not the guardian of the Constitution?” To which he replied that the constitution must be protected in accordance with the rules and with keeping in mind each and every article of the constitution.

Responding to a question by the Chief Justice on whether or not the judiciary could interfere in parliamentary affairs, Senator Ali Zafar said, “Can Parliament interfere if there’s a conflict between judges; The answer is no. The judiciary has to settle the matter. It can’t interfere just like Parliament can’t [interfere in judges’ matters].”

Referring to the Chief Justice’s comment that everything following the dissolution of the assembly would come under court inquiry, he said that “Junejo’s government was dissolved and the court declared it unconstitutional,” however the court did not interfere in actions taken after the dissolution of the assembly.

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Justice Miankhel advised the counsel to address the issue and pointed out that what he was referring to was related to the oath. Finally, the Chief Justice added that holding elections can cost billions of rupees.

On Wednesday, at the outset of the hearing, the courtroom was packed with journalists and politicians alike. Representing PTI, lawyer Babar Awan took the rostrum during the court’s hearing.

The PTI lawyer pointed out that many political parties which were members of the parliaments had not been made respondents. He added that Mutahida Qaumi Movement Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), Jamaat-i-Islam (JI), Balochistan Awami Party, and Rah-i-Haq, all of which were members of the Parliament had not been made respondents.

Referring to the alleged horse-trading, Babar Awan questioned the court’s silence regarding what had occurred in Sindh house and Lahore Avari Express. He added, “No one said a word about article 63A.” The Supreme Court, which took a suo moto notice of the 03 April National Assembly proceedings, had turned a blind eye to the alleged horse-trading fiasco ahead of the vote on the no-confidence motion.

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During the hearing, Justice Bandial questioned the PTI lawyer about whether the speaker could issue a ruling on an issue that was not stated in the session’s agenda. He further asked whether the speaker could “issue a ruling without facts” and requested the counsel to defend his case with solid evidence.

The Chief Justice noted that the ruling was based on accusations, and nothing of the sort had been proven as of yet. The court further inquired, “where are the minutes of the meeting.” Justice Jamal added that “there is no doubt that one must be loyal to the state” but questioned, “what action could be taken against someone who was disloyal to it.” The court also requested the PTI counsel to refrain from giving long-winded speeches.