The Lahore High Court on Monday ordered the de-sealing of the office of Punjab Assembly Deputy Secretary Dost Muhammad Mazari and directed him to go to his office along with the registrar and assembly secretary.
Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti was hearing the case moved by PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari and PML-Q leader Kamil Ali Agha, regarding the election of the new Punjab chief minister.
“The Lahore High Court registrar should go with deputy speaker and secretary assembly and get the office of deputy speaker opened,” CJ Bhatti directed the registrar after hearing lengthy arguments of both sides.
The CJ also directed the LHC registrar to check the damage due to the fight on the premises of the provincial assembly, check the destruction of furniture as well as the footage of CCTV cameras installed there.
Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari, who appeared before the court on a short order, said that everything he did was in accordance with the law, but his office was sealed and his powers were withdrawn.
The deputy speaker asked the court to restrain the assembly secretary from entering into the premises, apprehending that he could influence the proceedings that day.
At this, Chief Justice Bhatti remarked, “You have to comply with the order given. Whereas the powers are concerned, the court will decide it by tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Advocate Amir Saeed Rawn, the counsel for Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Kamil Agha, said that the powers of the deputy speaker were withdrawn earlier just because of his “two number” [fraudulent] activities as it was not known yet on whose call he changed the date for the assembly session at midnight.
On it, the counsels representing the PML-N and the deputy speaker raised objections and said that they were astonished at the kind of language he [Advocate Rawn] was using before the court.
During the proceedings, the chief justice asked the law officers and the secretary assembly about delay in the assembly session. The advocate general of Punjab said that there was a fight on the premises of the assembly which caused ‘damage’ and as a result, the proceedings were adjourned.
“The fighting caused delay in the assembly session,” said the law officer.
At this, the CJ remarked, “It doesn’t mean that there should be no session. Will the assembly not be opened if ten people gather outside it?”
The CJ further remarked, “The matter of the assembly should be discussed in the assembly.”
Advocate Rawn pleaded with the court that their leaders were detained in a local hotel.
“At least 30 members of the PMl-Q have been detained in a local hotel. It is open horse-trading,” said Rawn.
At this, the LHC CJ observed that any member of the assembly could not be barred from casting the vote.
“If any member commits violation of party discipline, action could be taken against him under Article 63-A of the constitution,” the CJ remarked.
Barrister Ali Zafar, who was representing Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, said that a no-trust-motion was moved against Deputy Speaker Mazari, and therefore, he could not chair the session.
The chief justice observed that the barrister was wrong, questioning who would conduct the session if not the deputy speaker. Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar, the counsel of the PML-N, countered the argument of Barrister Ali Zafar and said that a no-trust motion was moved against Qasim.
Earlier, the court had directed the Punjab Assembly speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mazari and Leader of the Opposition in PA Hamza Shahbaz to mutually decide the date for the election of Punjab Chief Minister.
“You all should sit together and decide the matter amicably,” remarked CJ Bhatti, observing that they all were the citizens of the country and they had to live there.
Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar told the court that the office of the Punjab chief minister was lying vacant since the day Usman Buzdar resigned. He said there was no chief minister so far in Punjab. He added that he heard that the speaker could suspend membership.
The court adjourned the hearing for 2:00pm and directed all the respondents to come up with the solution. However, the parties and their counsels appeared again with the matter unresolved.
The CJ remarked that they all were seniors lawyers and it was a matter of surprise that they could not decide it amicably. The CJ remarked that he would decide the matter and would adjourn it.
The PML-Q’s counsel asked the court to give him a day, to which the CJ remarked that it should be decided today.
The CJ opened the office of the deputy speaker and adjourned further hearing till Tuesday.