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Courts operate for whole day, says CJ Bandial following Imran Khan’s criticism

CJ says SC expects political leaders to defend judiciary’s orders publically

Supreme Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said on Monday that courts worked for 24 hours, in response to former prime minister Imran Khan’s question on why courts had to open at midnight on April 9.

During the hearing on a presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, the CJ said that no one needed to point a finger at the courts.

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A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court – led by Justice Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Aijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel – had resumed hearing the reference on Monday.

The apex court was also hearing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Chairman and ex-premier Imran Khan’s plea to declare dissenting party members ineligible for life. PTI’s lawyer Babar Awan asked the court to notify the respondents of the case.

In response, CJ Bandial called on Awan to present his case first, adding that the notices would be issued late.

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Islamabad Advocate-General Niaz Ullah Khan Niazi contended that lifelong ineligibility should be awarded for defection.

He asked the court to rule early, keeping the situation in Punjab and centre in view.

“Parliament hasn’t included lifelong disqualification in Article 63A,” Justice Mandokhel remarked. He asked if parliament avoided including the lifelong disqualification deliberately or by mistake.

“Why do you want the SC to decide this when there is parliament?” he asked. In response, CJ Bandial remarked that his fellow judge’s stance was clear.

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

“We expect political leaders to defend judicial orders in public,” CJ Bandial remarked, adding that the court was responsible for protecting and ensuring the rule of law.

Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till 1:00pm Tuesday.

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