Athar Minallah, Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), on Thursday has told legislators belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to go back to the National Assembly.
The court was hearing a petition filed by PTI Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) pertaining to the matter of the acceptance of 11 of their resignations.
On Wednesday, PTI filed the petition, stating that the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Raja Pervez Ashraf, “unlawfully” declared the members as having resigned because he “Accepted the resignation of 12 MNAs’ without calling them to ascertain the true picture and by not following the due process of law, committed an unconstitutional act.” The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) then notified them of de-seating.
The party was of the view that the Speaker was under obligation to accept the resignations of all 123 MNAs however he only accepted 11 resignations.
During the hearing, Chief Justice (CJ) Athar Minallah remarked, “You must hold a dialogue with other political parties to resolve such disputes.”
The IHC chief justice observed that members whose resignations hadn’t been accepted must rejoin parliament.
“Go and fight your political battle outside the court,” Justice Minallah told the PTI counsel. He added that this plea couldn’t be admitted until respect for the parliament was expressed by the petitioners. “Go back to parliament tomorrow, this court will accept your plea,” he told the PTI counsel.
PTI lawyer Senator Ali Zafar said the party has yet to take a decision on this matter. He said the decision to return to parliament or not was a political one and the court should stay “far away” from it.
“No political party is above parliament. This mindset needs to be changed”, the IHC chief justice pointed out.
Zafar asked him if the court wanted an assurance from the petitioners about representing their constituencies to which the judge said: “Not just an assurance, prove by your actions that parliament is supreme.”
Zafar said the party should be given time for consultations on the affidavits.
The hearing was adjourned indefinitely.
PTI reaches court, says acceptance of its MNA’s resignations was ‘unconstitutional act’
A petition, filed by 10 out of the 11 PTI lawmakers whose resignations have been accepted, states that the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Raja Pervez Ashraf, “unlawfully” declared the members as having resigned because he “Accepted the resignation of 12 MNAs’ without calling them to ascertain the true picture and by not following the due process of law, committed an unconstitutional act.” The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) then notified them of de-seating.
The party was of the view that the speaker was under obligation to accept the resignations of all 123 MNAs however he only accepted 11 resignations.
The party appealed to the court to declare the speaker and ECP’s orders “illegal, issued without lawful authority and of no legal effect.” They also stated that the orders were in violation of the Constitution.
In July, Raja Pervez Ashraf accepted 11 resignations of PTI MNAs under Article 64(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The petitioners maintained that the PTI MNAs tendered their resignations as per party policy on political grounds with the objective of reaching an agreement with the then “Opposition parties for holding fresh elections so that a new government may be formed with a real mandate.”
The petitioners requested the court to direct the NA speaker to summon 112 MNAs and petitioners for an inquiry on whether the resignations were “Voluntary and genuine”, and fulfilled the criteria laid out under Article 64 of the constitution.
The PTI also requested the high court to hold an immediate hearing of their case. However, the request was turned down and the court decided to hold a hearing tomorrow (October 6). IHC Chief Justice (CJ) Athar Minallah will hear the plea.
Moreover, the petitioners submitted the records and transcripts of the audio leaks in which Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif and members of his cabinet can be heard seeking approval for accepting the resignations from PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.
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