- The Interior Minister says the three judges had a long record of giving anti-PML-N rulings.
Lahore: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan on Sunday implied that a reference might be filed against three Supreme Court judges who were hearing the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa election delay case.
Rana Sanaullah said that the government did not make any decision so far to file a reference against the three-member bench of the Supreme Court including Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial.
“The government can bring references against judges as it is under the deliberations,” revealed the Interior Minister in a recent interview to a news organization.
He said, “the government has serious concerns,”.
The Interior minister said that the three judges had a long record of giving anti-PML-N rulings.
The case relates to a petition by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) calling for a judicial order for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In January of this year, the PTI, on the directives of party chief Imran Khan, dissolved its provincial assemblies in the two provinces, hoping for early elections. Tensions escalated after the Supreme Court ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on March 1 to hold elections in the two provinces within 90 days of the dissolution of the two assemblies.
Referring to the interpretation of Article 63(A) by the apex court, the interior minister said that there is also a verdict that has been considered equivalent to rewriting the Constitution by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and others familiar with the law.
Under the Article 63(A) verdict, the PML-N government was overthrown in Punjab. It still appears that the three judges are determined to make this verdict themselves at any cost.
Rana Sanaullah said that a bench of nine members was initially formed, but it was subsequently reduced to seven, then to five, and further to four. Currently, the bench is composed of three judges. All three judges have rejected the request to form a full court bench and have refused to acknowledge the request from their fellow judges.
The interior minister further said that the only way for the government to register its protest is to file a reference against the said judges. He called on PTI chief Imran Khan to directly approach Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Asif Zardari, or Shehbaz Sharif, if he is serious about negotiations, as offers made on Khan’s behalf have no significance. Rana Sanaullah said that the leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) met on Saturday and unanimously agreed that the three-member bench’s proceedings were unconstitutional and illegal, including Asif Ali Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) who attended the meeting via a video link from Dubai.