Friday Apr 22 2022

Article 63(A): We have to take country towards 'mature democracy', says CJP Bandial

CJP Umar Ata Bandial. — SC website
CJP Umar Ata Bandial. — SC website

  • CJP Umar Ata Bandial says votes of dissidents shouldn't be counted to end scourge of shifting loyalties.
  • Says legislators should engage in fruitful debate to take country towards "mature democracy."
  • Says "court's job is to answer all constitutional questions."

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan CJP Umar Ata Bandial on Friday said that the country has to be taken towards a "mature democracy."

The remark came during the hearing of the presidential reference seeking the interpretation of Article 63(A) of the Constitution.

Supreme Court's larger bench — headed by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel — was hearing the reference.

"We have to take the country towards mature democracy and for that, it is necessary for the legislators to have a fruitful discussion," CJP Bandial remarked.

He observed that the votes of the dissidents should not be counted to ensure national interest and to end the scourge of shifting loyalties.

"Court's job is to answer all constitutional questions," he said, asking if the court is bound to answer according to the words stated in the reference or can it interpret otherwise.

Meanwhile, Justice Mandokhel, while addressing PTI's lawyer Advocate Ali Zafar, said that political parties should treat "this cancer" on their own if they have any inconvenience because of it.

"Only one political party is against dissidents. We have the majority of political parties that oppose your [PTI's] stance," Justice Mandokhel remarked.

He asked if the PTI expects the court to rule in its favour while ignoring the majority's opinion.

Justice Akhter, however, was of the view that the only graceful way for the deviant member is to resign and go home.

The former PTI-led government had filed the reference after it started losing majority in the National Assembly as a number of its members gave their support to the Opposition of that time over the no-confidence motion submitted against former prime minister Imran Khan.

The SC is conducting hearings on the reference almost on a daily basis.