Published: June 12, 2015

Ex-Senator Zafar Ali Shah. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has sought legal assistance from Attorney General for Pakistan over Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s plea against the return of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNAs to Parliament.

Former PML-N Senator Zafar Ali Shah had filed a petition before the IHC, seeking to disqualify PTI lawmakers who resigned last year. However, the National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had not accepted the resignations submitted during the PTI’s 125-day long sit-in last year.

The petitioner requested the court to accept the writ petition and declare all the PTI MNAs, who had voluntarily tendered their resignations, as ex-MNAs.

Shah requested that the speaker NA may be directed to send a notification of vacation of seats following the resignations of PTI lawmakers. He prayed that Election Commission of Pakistan may be subsequently directed to announce a schedule of by-election on the seats.

Furthermore, the petitioner requested the court to restrain secretary national assembly from issuing any cheque and any financial benefits to the PTI MPs who had resigned.

However, the IHC judgment stated, “It is the exclusive domain of the speaker to, independently and judiciously, apply his mind when deciding on the resignation of a legislator. Neither can this court usurp the powers vested in the speaker, nor make him go through the rigours of adducing evidence in the court, inevitably expressing a lack of respect for the office of the speaker and the representative forum of the people of Pakistan i.e. the National Assembly.”

“This is clearly hit by the doctrine of political question,” it added.

The judgment, referring to the petitioner, also noted that “Only the candidates of the concerned seat may challenge the election of a returned candidate, with evidence, beyond the shadow of doubt”.

In such a case, the judgment noted, the court must protect the interests of a lawmaker’s constituents who may be affected by his resignation.

The two-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmad on Thursday took up the PML-N leader’s appeal against IHC order. Zafar Ali Shah appeared before the bench.

The bench asked him as to why he did not make PTI MNAs party in this matter. Shah replied that he is unaware about the names of all PTI MNAs. The bench however issued notice to AGP and adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.