While hearing a petition filed by dissident Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPAs against their disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has said that it is the fundamental right of every political party to expect loyalty from its members.
The chief justice issued this statement today (Tuesday) during a hearing of a petition filed by dissident members of the PTI from the Punjab Assembly, who have challenged their disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), according to a report by Dawn.
At the hearing the chief justice said, “It is the fundamental right of political parties that its members remain loyal to it.”
Previously the ECP had deseated 25 dissident PTI MPAs, after the Supreme Court (SC) had given its decision on a presidential reference seeking its interpretation of Article 63-A which deals with defection.
Following that, the Lahore High Court announced on June 30 that the votes of the deseated MPAs could not be considered with regards to the election of Hamza Shehbaz as Punjab Chief Minister, and ordered a recount, and if applicable, a re-election.
Since then, multiple disqualified MPAs had moved the SC against the ECP’s decision, and the their pleas were grouped and viewed as a single case by a three-member bench CJP Bandial, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar.
At the hearing, the lawyer for the dissident MPAs complained that the PTI had not issued any specific instructions regarding the Punjab Chief Minister elections, and in fact Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader and PTI candidate for CM Pervaiz Elahi had also boycotted the session.
However, the chief justice asked why the dissidents had voted for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) despite being from the PTI. Moreover he questioned why they had been voting in the first place if their party had boycotted the session.
Noting that defection was ‘no small matter’, the CJP remarked that it was a matter of a person’s conscience.