PTI sees Fed, Punjab govts stand dissolved after SC ruling

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Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said that the PML-N-led governments in Punjab and even the Center stand dissolved after the Supreme Court’s verdict on legal status of defecting lawmakers’ votes.
Speaking to press after the SC verdict, in its decision on a presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution, ruled that the votes of defecting lawmakers (of a political party) cannot be counted, Chaudhry maintained that now PM Shehbaz and his son Hamza Shehbaz should leave their respective positions as they no longer enjoy majority in National Assembly and Punjab Assembly respectively.
The former minister said that PM Shehbaz Sharif today has support of 169 MNAs wherein he needs at least 186 MNAs to continue ruling the country along with his allies.
The verdict by the larger bench of the Supreme Court was a 3-2 split decision, with a majority of the judges not allowing lawmakers to vote against party line in four instances outlined under Article 63-A.
These four instances are the election of prime minister and chief minister; a vote of confidence or no-confidence; a Constitution amendment bill; and a money bill.
The decision was made with a majority of 3-2, Justice Jamal Mandokhel and Justice Nazeer Alam dissented from the decision. The Chief Justice said that changing loyalties in the parliament damages the integrity of democracy.
It is pertinent to note here that a number of deviant PTI members voted in favour of Hamza Shehbaz during the election for Chief Minister Punjab held in Punjab Assembly on April 16.
The SC verdict states that “it is our view that the vote of any member (including a deemed member) of a Parliamentary Party in a House that is cast contrary to any direction issued by the latter in terms of para (b) of clause (1) of Article 63A cannot be counted and must be disregarded, and this is so regardless of whether the Party Head, subsequent to such vote, proceeds to take, or refrains from taking, action that would result in a declaration of defection.