As long as there are adherents of Constitution, criticism does not matter: CJP

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ISLAMABAD
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday while hearing the presidential reference for the interpretation of Article 63A remarked that as long as there are adherents of the Constitution, criticism does not matter.
During the hearing, PPP leader Raza Rabbani while giving arguments said that a person who is not loyal to the party is not necessarily a dishonest person. He explained his statement saying that the affidavit given in the nomination papers is of affiliation with the party. The real oath is that which is taken as a member of the National Assembly.
He further added that Article 63A warns the members not to vote against the party policy. The PPP leader said that a few days ago, the Prime Minister of Pakistan was ready for a serious violation of the Constitution, but did not resign. He mentioned that Article 62(1)(f) does not apply for deviation from party, adding that under Article 63A, a deviant member is de-seated, not disqualified.
He emphasized his statement that the penalty for deviation is termination of membership and nothing more. Justice Muneeb Akhtar reminded Raza Rabbani of what he went through after voting in favor of military courts and stated that you said in your speech that the vote is the trust of the party.
Would it have been considered a betrayal if you had resigned? You did not express any fear, remarked Justice Muneeb. Responding to the questions put up by the honorable court Raza Rabbani expressed that he would not have been able to face the situation after resigning. He had no moral courage to resign. Resignation means the end of a political career, the PPP leader continued saying.
The Chief Justice remarked that history has shown that PPP has always made sacrifices and stood by the institutions, we respect those who make sacrifices. PTI’s lawyer said that two basic questions have been raised in the reference.
Punishment given under Article 63A and will the disqualification of the deviant members be for life or not, stated PTI lawyer. Meanwhile, the attorney general’s counsel argued that the 62(1)(f) would also be read along with 63A.
Voting against party directives is unconstitutional, the counsel exclaimed. Justice Jamal Mandokhail asked what are the consequences of violating the constitution? Is there a lifelong disqualification for every violation of the Constitution?
Adding that if a members is proved to be deviant due to corruption and bribery, then 62(1)(f) will be applicable. Justice Jamal Mandokhail elaborated that how could the deviant members be stopped from trying to vote? the chairman could take action only after the vote has been casted.
PTI’s counsel argued that a deviant member betrays the constitution, the people and the political party. On that Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan remarked that even those who do not vote deviate from the party. You are saying 63A allows the vote to be casted but not to be counted, he said.
Attorney General’s counsel argued that the inclusion of 63A was intended to end horse trading, to which Jamal Khan Mandokhail remarked that the implementation of Article 63A begins only after the implementation of Article 95.
The Chief Justice further remarked that Makhdoom Ali Khan will appear before the court tomorrow and Babar Awan after the Eid holidays. The Additional Attorney General said that the federation will also put its petitions before the court, while the cabinet has not yet considered the case.
On which Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that it’s better not to put the case before the cabinet now, a new decision may be taken. Senator Raza Rabbani has completed his arguments while PTI lawyer Ali Zafar will continue. The hearing of the case has been adjourned by the Supreme Court till 10.30 am on Friday.