Govt demands full Court Bench for SC Suo Motu over Polls date

-Defence Minister says SC should review cases starting from Panama issue
-Adds ‘when Judges intervene in Parliament’s jurisdiction we will raise questions’
-Claims Supreme Court complicated matters in its interpretation of Article 63-A

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday criticised the judiciary for “trespassing” into the parliament’s jurisdiction by “rewriting” Arti-cle 63-A of the Constitution, as he demanded a full court bench be constituted for the ongoing suo motu proceedings linked to the delay in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections.
Addressing the National Assembly yesterday, Asif said: “Why not examine if the [assemblies’] dissolution was right or wrong? Or go back to when Article 63-A was rewritten? The top judiciary transgressed and rewrote the Constitution [even though] it is not their job.”
The remarks come at a time when the Supreme Court has constituted a nine-member bench for a suo motu notice aiming to resolve the issue of when elections in Punjab and KP would be held.
Days ago, President Arif Alvi had unilaterally announced April 9 as the election date after the Election Commission of Pakistan rejected his invitation to meet for the purpose.
During his address Friday, terming himself a “respondent” affected by the judiciary’s decisions, Asif said: “I would say with immense respect that this matter should have been raised by a full court instead of a nine-member bench. The entire Supreme Court should find the solution to this issue.” He added: “I do not want to criticise if there are some in the bench whose characters have a question mark on them, but if the entire court sits for the matter, I think there can be redressal for the things that have happened in the past eight months.
“When they (judges) will trespass into our territory, then we also have the right to say that they did not fulfil their responsibilities.”
Referring to the Panama Papers case against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the minister alleged the judges dealing with the reference had called the PML-N supremo various “wrong names”. Asif said: “This top judiciary should ask itself. It is not on me to explain the causes of this discrimination on the [NA] floor but I will leave it up to the judiciary.”

He claimed that “confessions” of all those involved in the results of the Panama case — including the establishment, judiciary and PTI Vice-President Shah Mahmood Qureshi — had also come forward in the past few months.

“I beseech the top court to constitute a full court bench and [the matter] is started from the Panama [case],” Asif said.

Talking about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the interpretation of Article 63, the PML-N leader asserted the constitutional crisis facing the country was the “direct result” of that ruling and also the reason behind the country coming to a “grinding halt economically, politically and otherwise”.

He further went on to say the “first constitutional accident” in the country took place when a judge declared the doctrine of necessity valid, adding that the “first political martyrdom” in the country was when former president Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged.

The PML-N leader also lambasted PTI Chairman Imran Khan for not appearing in courts when they call him repeatedly, lamenting that such allowances were not made for PML-N leaders when Sharif’s government was ousted.