Home Latest News PDM Demands Government File Reference for SC Full Bench to Interpret Article 63A

PDM Demands Government File Reference for SC Full Bench to Interpret Article 63A

PMLN VP Maryam Nawaz warns of protests outside ECP office if verdict in PTI’s ‘foreign funding’ case not released

by Newsweek Pakistan

Screengrab of the PDM’s press conference

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance on Thursday reiterated demands for a full bench of the Supreme Court to interpret Article 63A of the Constitution, and urged the government to send a presidential reference to the apex court in this regard.

Following a meeting between representatives of the parties comprising the PDM, including the PPP, PMLN and MQM, alliance chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman—who also heads his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam—said the coalition was in agreement that the interpretation of Article 63A by a three-member bench of the apex court utilized to declare PMLQ’s Pervaiz Elahi the chief minister of Punjab had triggered legal reservations and a constitutional crisis. “The political parties have expressed reservations on the observation of three judges of the top court, which complicated the matter,” he told journalists alongside other representatives of the PDM.

Stressing that a reference for a full bench was essential to allay the differences of opinion among legal experts, media and the civil society, he also rubbished the impression that the incumbent government was planning on calling early elections. Noting the PDM had decided to continue in government until the completion of Parliament’s constitutional term, he said elections would be “held on time.”

Rehman also reiterated the PDM’s demands for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to “immediately” announce its verdict in the “foreign funding” case of the PTI, recalling it had now been pending for eight years. Calling upon the ECP to fulfill its legal and constitutional responsibility without any delay, he questioned why the electoral watchdog was currently “under a cover of mysterious silence.”

Alleging that there was sufficient evidence against the PTI, he said the law must take its course and a verdict must be delivered at the earliest.

Defending the incumbent government—which has come under increasing criticism due to rampant inflation and a seeming inability to take quick decisions—he claimed the “mess” created by ousted prime minister Imran Khan could not be cleared in just a year. “We will clean his mess in the next five years,” he claimed.

The PDM chief also warned PTI’s Khan to “remain within his limits,” stressing that the PDM was taking all decisions with unanimity. To a question, he said the PDM’s meeting would continue for several days, adding that the political leadership would discuss the problems facing the country and seek a way out of them.

Controversial SC

At her turn on the podium, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz claimed the government’s request for a full bench had been rejected by the Supreme Court to “facilitate ladla (favorite)” and deliver an unjust verdict against the government. “The three-member bench of the SC has already become controversial,” she said. “Our 25 MPAs were given to Imran [Khan] and Chaudhry Shujaat’s 10 MPAs were also provided to Imran. This was the mistake and misinterpretation,” she alleged, as she accused the three-member bench of the apex court of violating the Constitution. “If you think we will accept this decision, we won’t,” she said, stressing that the coalition government would not allow Khan to constantly “operate as a bully and abuse his opponents.”

The PMLN leader also warned that if the PTI wanted to make people change party positions by applying political tactics, he should be aware the coalition government also knows how to indulge in such tactics.

Emphasizing the PDM’s demand for early delivery of the ECP’s verdict in the “foreign funding” case, she said the ruling coalition would stage protests outside the ECP’s office in case of any unnecessary delays. “We want the ECP to issue a verdict in the foreign funding case as soon as possible. It has been proved that Imran Khan has taken funding from Indians and Israelis,” she alleged, recalling that Khan had once praised incumbent chief election commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja—who was appointed by the PTI-led government—but was now blaming the ECP in a bid to exert pressure on it.

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