In a major development, the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Tuesday announced its verdict over the presidential reference on the interpretation of Article 63(A) stating that votes of dissident members of Parliament (MPs) will not be counted.
The decision was made with majority of 3-2 by the five member bench, which was headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprised of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel.
According to the details, Justice Jamal Mandokhel and Justice Alam Khan dissented the decision made by the bench. Meanwhile, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Munib Akhtar agreed that dissident members’ votes should not be counted.
It is pertinent to mention the case commenced on March 21 under a two-member bench, which was later increased to a larger bench by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Bandial. The hearing continued for a total of 58 days since it was filed by President Arif Alvi on March 21.
The court said that Article 63(A) cannot be interpreted alone and other articles need to be kept in context. According to the article, a lawmaker can be disqualified on the grounds of defection if they vote or abstain from voting in the House contrary to any direction issued by the parliamentary party to which they belong.
CJP Umar Ata Bandial added that changing loyalties in the parliament damages the integrity of the democracy.
Can Hamza Shehbaz Continue as Chief Minister?
The verdict of the Supreme Court (SC) has caused serious questions over the legitimacy of the Punjab Government and Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz as he was elected with the help of dissident PTI members. However, the decision regarding the defection of the PTI members will be announced tomorrow.