LAHORE: Justice Shahid Jamil Khan, a member of a Lahore High Court larger bench, on Wednesday observed that prima facie, the opinion of the Supreme Court given on a presidential reference about the vote of defectors in parliament would have a retrospective effect.

“We have no other option but to implement the Supreme Court decision,” Justice Khan observed in response to the arguments of Advocate Mansoor Usman Awan, the counsel for Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, who insisted that the apex court’s opinion could not be enforced retrospectively.

He further argued that the apex court was yet to issue a detailed decision.

The five-judge bench was hearing appeals of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi against different single-bench decisions regarding the election and oath-taking of CM Hamza.

Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan headed the bench with Justice Khan, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry, Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh as its members.

The courtroom was packed to capacity with lawyers and leaders of the opposition parties, including former provincial ministers Raja Basharat and Sibtain Khan — also a petitioner in the case. Punjab Advocate General Shahzad Shaukat also appeared before the bench.

Justice Jamil observed that the presidential reference about the interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution was still pending when the election for the chief minister was held. The judge also asked Hamza’s counsel to seek a review of the SC opinion if he had an objection.

Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, on behalf of the appellants, argued that the opinion of the Supreme Court would apply retrospectively to the election for the chief minister held on April 16.

Justice Khan observed that now the whole country knew the bench’s view on the implementation of the SC opinion on Article 63-A.

Mr Zafar said the chief minister had lost the majority in the Punjab Assembly as the apex court ruled that the votes of defectors were not to be counted. He pointed out that 25 MPAs had defected in the election for the CM.

Advocate Ahmad Awais, on behalf of President Dr Arif Alvi, argued that the order issued to the National Assembly speaker for administering oath to the chief minister was illegal. He requested the bench to set aside the adverse remarks in the single bench order against the president and the then Punjab governor. He said the president and the governor were condemned unheard.

Justice Sethi also expressed concern over the remarks against the president and the former governor without hearing them.

The bench adjourned the hearing till 12:30pm on Thursday (today) with a direction to lawyers of the parties to come up with final arguments on the question of the effect of the Supreme Court’s opinion about the vote of the defectors.

On Tuesday, the bench had hinted at holding a fresh election for the Punjab chief minister under the April 16 circumstances, when Hamza had been elected in a poll on a court order.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

The fall guy
Updated 18 Aug, 2022

The fall guy

Maryam’s public distancing from Miftah over recent fuel price hike is quite uncalled for.
Never-ending scourge
18 Aug, 2022

Never-ending scourge

POLIO eradication efforts in the country appear to have suddenly taken a giant leap backwards. A day after...
Frozen Afghan funds
18 Aug, 2022

Frozen Afghan funds

WITH Afghanistan facing a humanitarian catastrophe and economic collapse, the American decision to not release ...
No end to hostility
Updated 17 Aug, 2022

No end to hostility

It is time for all parties to rise above petty tactics and hostilities for political gains and pull country back from brink.
Deadly accidents
17 Aug, 2022

Deadly accidents

TWO horrific accidents on Tuesday, which resulted in high death tolls, illustrate the dangers people face while ...
New banknote
17 Aug, 2022

New banknote

PAKISTAN has a new currency note to mark the diamond jubilee of independence. The 75-rupee banknote, issued by the...