• Fazl urges chief justice not to disqualify Shehbaz
• PDM says it won’t accept ‘engineered verdicts’
ISLAMABAD: Demanding the resignation of Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial for “giving undue facilitation” to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government on Monday warned the top judge of ‘dire consequences’ if Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was disqualified “on the pretext of contempt of the court” for refusing to comply with the court ruling regarding Punjab elections on May 14.
The multi-party ruling alliance, which organised a sit-in outside the top court in Red Zone, lashed out at the judiciary, particularly CJP Bandial, during the gathering which lasted the entire day before being called off by PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
The sit-in coincided with the hearing on a petition submitted by the ECP asking the bench to revisit its decision regarding elections in Punjab.
It may be noted that the sit-in was staged without the permission of the local administration amid the imposition of Section 144 under which gathering of more than four people was forbidden.
Members of the JUI-F scaled the gate of the Red Zone and reached outside the Supreme Court. Vehicles with loudspeakers installed on them also entered the sensitive area. The container of the PDM leadership was stationed in front of the Supreme Court gate.
The leaders of the alliance were unanimous that they would not accept ‘engineered verdicts’ anymore and also accused the CJP of misconduct.
“Mr CJP you have been committing misconduct for the last month and revealed that you will announce PM’s disqualification. The PM has safeguarded the constitution and if any attempt is made against the government, we will defend the National Assembly and the PM,” PDM chief Fazl said while addressing the participants of the sit-in.
“In this case, you (CJP) will be in trouble and will not be able to save yourself,” he warned.
“We will not tolerate if courts will make engineered decisions. The court had ousted former chief minister Hamza Shehbaz and established Parvez Elahi’s government [in Punjab]. We give you due respect but we will never allow you to disgrace people politicians and parliament,” Maulana Fazl said, adding that all institutions should work within their own domain.
He said the control of the country was in the hands of parliament and the premier. “If you want to do politics then come out of the building,” Maulana Fazl told the CJP.
It has been observed that the speeches of the PDM leaders, including Maryam Nawaz and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, were censored for their harsh comments during the live telecast of the speech.
Earlier, it was expected that the sit-in led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman would continue for a few days, but in his speech, the JUI-F chief announced the culmination of the protest the same day.
However, he warned the government’s supporters would come again if decisions will not be made on merit. “We will come again and then not you but we will make decisions,” the PDM chief warned the top judge.
“You have done a great job by coming from a far-flung area and now you will go back to your homes and will come again whenever you will be called,” he asked participants of the demonstration.
“We want to restore the prestige of the judiciary. Its prestige is so high that the removal of two or three will not make any difference,” the PDM chief said.
Maulana Fazl added the CJP had expressed his intention to give a verdict against the government on the Punjab polls but after being ‘scared’ of the huge PDM rally, he changed his mind and adjourned the case till next week.
Facilitator of Imran
Speaking on the occasion, Maryam Nawaz, the chief organiser of the ruling PML-N and daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif delivered a fiery speech and demanded the resignation of the CJP for acting as a “facilitator” of Imran Khan.
Referring to PTI’s violent protest across the country on the arrest of Imran Khan in an alleged corruption case, she said: “That is why we were against the holding of election in the country in the current circumstances because in the presence of fitna (troublemaker) peaceful elections cannot take place,” she said in a reference to Imran Khan.
She asked the protestors that whether they are in favour of the resignation of the CJP. They responded with a resounding yes. The PML-N senior vice president accused judges of playing a “significant role” in the destruction of Pakistan.
Ms Nawaz expressed concerns over the present state of the country and emphasised the importance of strengthening democracy within the framework of the Constitution.
Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2023
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