CJP urged to take suo motu notice on fire in forests in Balochistan

SC expects politicians to defend judicial orders in public: CJP Bandial

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, responding to former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent criticism of the court, said the Supreme Court (Sc) wants political leaders to publicly defend the judiciary Order.

The remarks were made during a hearing by the president seeking an interpretation of Article 63A of the Pakistani constitution.

A five-member larger bench of the SC — headed by Justice Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Aijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel — resumed hearing the reference on Monday.

The apex court was also hearing PTI Chairman and ex-premier Imran Khan’s plea seeking to declare dissident party members ineligible for life.

PTI’s lawyer Babar Awan requested the court issue notices to the respondents of the case.

At this, CJP Bandial asked Awan to present his case first, saying that the notices will be issued afterwards.

During the hearing, Islamabad’s attorney general argued that there should be a lifetime disqualification for defecting.

He asked the court to make an early ruling while keeping an eye on the situation in Punjab and the centre.

“Parliament did not include lifetime disqualification in section 63A,” commented Judge Mandoher, asking whether Parliament deliberately avoided including lifetime disqualification in section 63A or a mistake.

Justice Mandokhel noted that half would abide by the Supreme Court’s order and half would not, as some support lifetime disqualification while others oppose it.

“Why do you want the SC to decide this when there is Parliament?” he asked.

At this, CJP Bandial remarked that his fellow judge’s stance is clear.

“Why should we announce the verdicts when 10-15 thousand people start criticising judicial orders […] why should the court take part in your political debates.

“We expect political leaders to defend judicial orders in public,” CJP Bandial remarked, adding that protecting and ensuring the rule of law is the court’s responsibility.

Earlier, at the outset of the hearing, the additional attorney-general maintained that the court was requested to adjourn the hearing till the appointment of a new attorney-general of Pakistan (AGP).

Khalid Javed Khan resigned from the AGP on the night former Prime Minister Imran Khan stepped down in a vote of no confidence on April 9.

In response to the AAG’s statement, CJP Bandial said Khan as the AGP had completed his arguments while the parties had not completed theirs.

The judge added that the new AGP could make arguments at the conclusion of the case if he wanted to.

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