Battle of Punjab

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Supreme Court detailed judgement on no confidence motion has been announced, as expected the PTI top leadership has been blamed. The decision is in line with the events that were unfolded during no confidence motion against IK. But terming Deputy Speaker ruling as unconstitutional and suggesting action under Article 6 was not expected. The decision has been criticized by PTI in strongest terms whereas the government has welcomed the decision and have set up a committee to study the judgement and consider invoking Article 6 against former PM Imran Khan, Deputy Speaker Suri and others. At least the nation is certainly surprised at the timing of detailed judgement that could have been announced after bye elections. This is going to be a long drawn war between the PTI and the government that would further add fuel to the already burning situation.
In another decision of the Supreme Court on the interpretation of Article 63 A that is certainly a landmark decision in the history of Pakistan in Pakistan’s politics where defectors of any political party their votes will not be counted. Let us first see what Article 63 A says. The Article leads to disqualification of lawmakers on grounds of defection. The judgement of the Supreme Court on the interpretation of Article 63-A has closed doors on defectors. Some people have supported Justice Mandokhel dissenting note and its effect on the selection of CM Punjab as defectors (aka Lotas) were allowed to cast vote in favor of Hamza Shahbaz on orders of Lahore High Court by interpreting SC judgement that their votes will not be counted. Unfortunately, our parliamentarians and executive have failed to perform their basic functions and each time even for a minor dispute has to refer to the Supreme Court to get final verdict and then criticize it if not in favor. The entire world witnessed this grand Tamasha live on TV channels how Hamza Shahbaz was elected CM Punjab through a disorderly election marred by violence and oath was taken by Speaker of National assembly on orders of LHC in the presence of Speaker of Punjab assembly.
How can any house accept the result of a disorderly election? There is no provision in the constitution that the speaker of national assembly can take oath of provincial assemblies while electing Chief Minister. It was a landmark decision of SC that defectors’ vote cannot be counted. That cannot be further interpreted as it has no ambiguity. The members elected to any house nominated by the party head are bound to follow the orders and instructions of the party chief because the seat is the property of the party and not the individual. In fact, the moment any member of assembly makes announcement through public meeting, press conference or by any other means of his disassociation from his party he was elected, the ECP based on his statement should immediately declare his seat vacant, that would prove deterrent for others and no one would dare to defect the party. The defection has proved to be harmful for the country. It has been turned into a profession and makes money known as horse trading. Let us accept it that our constitution has failed to even attend to minor disputes that are referred to SC only to gain time and overburden them. Finally, no forum can interpret the SC verdict. It would be a great violation but who cares?
Keeping the above in view the bye elections in Punjab over 20 seats have taken the shape of battle between the government and PTI because the defectors were PTI members. During the 2018 elections out of these 20 MPAs, 10 were independent and 10 were PTI candidates. After the election results all these 10 independent members (electable) en bloc joined PTI and rest 10 members got elected defeating PML N candidates. Under the circumstances all 10 independent candidates who joined PTI as reported are going to side with PML N. Out of the remaining 10 candidates, new faces have been brought in that has created rift between PTI itself and it is reliably learned that 50% will vote PML N. Secondly, the entire Punjab administration police and bureaucracy is pro PML N. Thirdly, relations between PTI and ECP are not very cordial. Over and above, the establishment is neutral. Under these circumstances, what could be the result of Bye elections can be predicted without any difficulty. The other scenario PTI may sweep the elections as predicted by Chairman PTI due to massive crowd presence in all his public meetings. It looks like if both sides, the government and the opposition remain at war with each other none of them are going to accept their defeat and reject the result of the elections either way. God forbid, if this happens it may turn into a greater disorder, more violence, and may ultimately pave the way for much talked about revolution. Let us hope and pray to Allah that sanity prevails from both sides and a confrontation situation is avoided because it is not going to help the government but the country will suffer.