Pak ruling coalition
demands full court
hearing of Punjab
chief minister’s election


ISLAMABAD: Leaders of Pakistan’s ruling coalition on Monday demanded a full court bench to hear a high-profile case related to the recent election of the Punjab chief minister while holding a joint news conference in the federal capital.

The election, which was held on Friday, went in favour of Hamza Shehbaz, the candidate for the ruling coalition and son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, after the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly invalidated 10 votes cast against him by the provincial lawmakers belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) party.

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardar and Maryam Nawaz addressing a joint press conference on Monday 25th July.

The deputy speaker, Dost Mohammad Mazari, said his ruling was based on a recent Supreme Court verdict which endorsed the idea of disqualifying legislators for voting against their party line.

Mazari gave his ruling in the matter soon after the voting in the chief minister’s election, quoting a letter written to him by the top PML-Q leader, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, which asked his party lawmakers to support Shehbaz instead of his rival and Hussain’s cousin, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.

Speaking at the outset of the news conference, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president, Maryam Sharif, claimed some judges of the top court had a soft corner for former prime minister Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

She maintained there were only a handful of judges who were hearing petitions related to significant political developments, adding that some of them had also given verdicts against her party and its leaders in the past.

“I can write an essay in praise of the judiciary,” she said, “but one wrong [court] verdict will undermine the whole argument.”

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardar Maryam Nawaz and other leaders are present at a press conference.

The PML-N vice president, who spoke at length about recent court rulings, said she was stopped from publicly taking up such issues by several people ahead of the news conference, though she added it was important for people’s representatives to think beyond their self-interest and protect the rights of others.

She also questioned the top court’s description of Shehbaz as the “trustee chief minister” of Punjab.

As the country’s apex court prepared to look into the case related to the election of the Punjab chief minister, a 37-member provincial cabinet was sworn in at a ceremony held at the Governor House in Lahore on Sunday evening.

The top leader of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, endorsed Sharif’s statement while calling for full court hearing in the case.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also reiterated the same demand while addressing the news conference.

“It is not possible that only three people determine the future of the country,” he said.