Ruling coalition decided to boycott the proceedings of 3 member SC bench

Ruling coalition express complete mistrust in the three member SC bench headed by CJP Umar Ata Bundial 

A meeting of the coalition government and senior political leaders on Saturday expressed “no confidence” in the three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Muneeb Akhtar  hearing the postponement of polls in Punjab.

A diminished bench is currently hearing the PTI’s plea against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone elections to the Punjab Assembly till October 8. The three-member bench was constituted after the original five-member bench was disbanded following the recusals of Justice Aminuddin Khan on Thursday and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail on Friday.

The recusals fuelled calls from government figures to constitute a full court to hear the case while PML-N supremo and former premier Nawaz Sharif hit out at members of the superior judiciary specifically CJP Bandial and ex-CJP Saqib Nisar for what he called “selective” benches for suo-motu notices.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired a meeting of leaders of the coalition government today to consider the overall situation and “devise a future strategy for the government” amid the country’s judicial crisis on top of long-ongoing economic and political crises.

According to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), PM Shehbaz addressed the meeting via video link from Lahore.

“The meeting expressed no confidence in the three-member bench headed by the chief justice, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Muneeb Akhtar and demands that the present court proceedings be terminated by accepting the four-judge majority judgment of the suo motu no. 1/2023,” the press release reads.

“The sad fact is that the chief justice of the Supreme Court wants to impose the decision of the minority on the decision of the majority. This conduct is not only a serious constitutional and political crisis in the country but also a clear example of deviation from the Constitution and prevailing legal procedures, which is also a clear violation of the basic concept of the division of powers of the state.”

The PMO press release further said that the meeting “made it clear that Justice Ijazul Ahsan had already left the bench voluntarily in this case so he cannot be a part of the current bench. The orders of Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail in this regard are clear, all this is also on record.

“The meeting demanded the chief justice to listen to the dissenting voices raised in the benches of the Supreme Court as the head of the institution and immediately hold a full court meeting so the impression of the ‘one-man show’ is done away with.”

Justice Ahsan had distanced himself from February’s suo motu proceedings regarding the delay in the announcement of a date for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Meanwhile, Justices Shah and Mandokhail in a detailed dissenting note for the March 1 verdict had called for revisiting the power of the “one-man show” enjoyed by the chief justice, saying that the country’s top court could not “be dependent on the solitary decision of one man”.

The PMO press release added that the “division” in the Supreme Court’s thinking was “evident”. “Therefore, the Supreme Court should refrain from issuing controversial political decisions.”

The meeting’s participants demanded “an end to the impression regarding the chief justice and some other judges that they are adopting a special discriminatory attitude in the matters of the PTI.”

It also said that “those who instruct the politicians to sit together and take [collective] decisions are themselves divided. They should create unity and agreement within themselves.”

The meeting also took note of Justices Qazi Faez Isa and Aminuddin Khan’s detailed order on Wednesday which called for postponing all hearing based on suo motu notices  and cases of constitutional significance  under Article 184(3) until they were legislated upon.

“Conflicting court decisions have created an unworkable and complicated situation. Everyone must also respect the decision of Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s bench,” the press release stated.

It further said that references filed under Article 209 by the Pakistan Bar Council and other bar associations against a sitting apex court judge should be processed.


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