ISLAMABAD: Hailing the top court’s verdict which held that defecting lawmakers’ votes could not be counted, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhary on Wednesday said that his party would file a petition in the Supreme Court that Hamza Shehbaz is an “illegal” chief minister, should be relieved of his duties and a new election for CM should be held in Punjab.
The apex court announced its opinion on the presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A on Tuesday.
In a five-member larger bench, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, who was heading it, as well as Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar agreed that dissident members’ votes should not be counted, while Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel disagreed with the verdict.
Two judges in the minority opinion stated that “any further interpretation of Article 63-A, in our view, would amount to re-writing or reading into the Constitution and will also affect the other provisions of Constitution, which has not even been asked by the president”.
After the apex court’s verdict, the fate of the Punjab government now hangs in the balance as Hamza was elected to the post with the help of the votes of 24 PTI dissident MPAs.
“It was an important decision because as a result of it, the 25 votes in favour of Hamza Shehbaz can be subtracted. Now, the opposition in Punjab Assembly has 173 votes and Hamza has 172 votes,” Fawad said while addressing a press conference.
The former information minister said that the election for Hamza now stands null and void as per the Constitution. “After the [SC] decision, Hamza Shehbaz should’ve himself resigned. You haven’t been able to form a cabinet and have been running the government against the orders of the court. Your numbers in the Punjab Assembly are less than the opposition… you should show some decency here,” he added.
Fawad further said that the Punjab Governor could’ve asked Hamza for a vote of confidence but the province doesn’t have one. “It is for the first time in Pakistan’s history that Punjab effectively does not have a governor and he’s been suspended.”
Fawad hoped that after Hamza’s removal, PML-Q’s Pervaiz Elahi will be the new chief minister of the province after the new election.
Lashing out at the current government, the PTI leader said that the dollar reached Rs200 and the economy has been destroyed by the current government in these 40 days. “It is as if dacoits have entered a house and have started looting freely. We had handed over a stable Pakistan to them but they started ruining as soon as they assumed power,” he added.
Reiterating his party’s demand for an early election, Fawad said that the country should move towards it as soon as possible. “Looking at the number game in the Centre, President Arif Alvi can ask Shehbaz Sharif for a confidence vote anytime. Even Shehbaz Sharif does not have 172 votes in NA, he added.
He said that the economy of the country cannot be fixed before getting rid of the political crisis in the country and the only solution is early elections.
He also said that Imran Khan was illegally removed from power at the wishes of international masters.