Supreme Court Chief Justice (CJ) Umar Ata Bandial has said that members’ loyalty was the fundamental right of political parties.
A three-member bench chaired by CJ Bandial, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Aminuddin Khan was hearing the combined petitions of dissident MPAs against Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to disqualify them.
During the hearing, a lawyer of the petitioners said that PTI did not issue any instructions of voting in the election of chief minister of Punjab. The lawyer also said that Pervez Elahi, who was the joint-candidate of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, had boycotted the elections.
The chief justice remarked that it was about a person’s conscience. He also questioned the participation of PTI dissidents in CM Punjab elections despite boycott by their party. He said that defection was not a small matter as the court in its decision regarding interpretation of Article 63-A had declared it as a “cancer”.
Justice Mazhar during the proceedings observed that petitioners despite being PTI members had voted for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
PTI dissident MPA Uzma Kardar, elected on a reserved seat for women, claimed that her case was different from defection. Kardar claimed that she was still a member of the party and had worked hard for PTI. She said that as per Article 63-A, she was protected and defection was not proven against her as she was ousted on the basis of internal conspiracies.
The CJ said that the reserved seats were allotted on basis of proportional representation; adding that it would have to be seen as to why she remained member of assembly after PTI had ousted her.