ISLAMABAD: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said Monday that “bench-fixing” is a crime similar to “match-fixing” and suo motu notice should be taken over it as she criticised a “specific” anti-PML-N bench being constituted for one-sided decisions.

Maryam, in a joint press conference alongside the coalition government leaders, including Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl ur Rehman, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, said: “Institutions are insulted from within, not outside. One wrong decision blows up an entire case. Criticism isn’t needed where the right decisions are taken”.

The presser by the coalition government comes ahead of the significant Supreme Court hearing on Pervez Elahi’s plea challenging Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari’s ruling which called the recent re-election for the Punjab chief minister in favour of Hamza Shahbaz.

Maryam said that ever since Hamza became the chief minister, PTI leaders have been repeatedly approaching SC — and this time, they jumped over the walls of the top court.

Referring to the PTI’s petition against the chief minister’s July 22 election, Maryam said that the SC’s doors were opened late at night and the registrar gave “sufficient time” to the party to draft its appeal.

“This is not what happens in our justice system,” she said, adding that the PTI was given ample time to draft its petition by the registrar, while the common man is given months for the date of hearing.

Noting that the judiciary interfered when Hamza was elected, she asked why the SC didn’t call former NA deputy speaker Qasim Suri for violating the Constitution.

In a detailed verdict, the SC had noted that President Arif Alvi, then-prime minister Imran Khan, then-NA deputy speaker Suri, and then-law minister Fawad Chaudhry had violated their authority and constitution — when they avoided Khan from being ousted through a no-confidence vote on April 3.

“The court called Punjab Assembly’s deputy speaker to court […] so why didn’t it call Qasim Suri to the stand?” the PML-N leader questioned, as he criticised the justices.

Three people cannot decide country’s fate: Bilawal Bhutto

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto, too, reiterated that the coalition government only has one demand: the formation of a full bench to hear the case related to the Punjab CM’s election.

“This cannot happen that three people decide the fate of this country. Three people cannot decide on whether this country will run on a democratic, elected or selective system,” he said.

He repeated: “It cannot be possible that three people change Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution with just the stroke of a pen”.

Bilawal said we want the country to run through a democratic process. He said that we can see that some people, who wanted to make this country a “one-unit” system”, can’t digest that Pakistan is moving closer to democratic norms and that the public is making its own decisions.

More to follow…


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