The National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution on Thursday, rejecting the minority verdict of the Supreme Court on the Punjab elections and binding Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet not to implement the decision. The resolution was moved by Balochistan Awami Party lawmaker Khalid Magsi and approved by a majority of the lawmakers. It noted that the National Assembly had previously called on the Supreme Court to avoid “interfering” in political matters. The resolution expressed concerns over the Supreme Court’s circular setting aside the verdict of a three-member bench on suo motu cases and the formation of a controversial bench. It also demanded the formation of a full court to review the “wrong interpretation” of Article 63-A.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Mohsin Leghari opposed the resolution, warning that the House was treading on a dangerous path and committing contempt of court. He defended the Supreme Court’s decision on the Punjab elections, saying that the apex court had announced for elections to be held within 90 days since that was instructed by the Constitution. Leghari further took issue with the fact that the PTI was not given an opportunity to speak and present its case before carrying out a vote.
Federal Minister for Communication and Postal Services Asad Mahmood also spoke on the matter, condemning the alleged atrocities faced by worshipers in Al-Aqsa Mosque and arguing that the court was not paying heed to the “political representative” of the country. He asked how the house could be expected to accept the decision of the apex court when its members were not being heard. Mahmood attacked the judiciary for allegedly taking sides and being impartial, arguing that the formation of a full bench would have been better.
The resolution passed by the National Assembly has raised concerns about the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary in Pakistan. It remains to be seen how the situation will unfold and whether the Supreme Court will take any action in response to the resolution.