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Sunday, June 4, 2023

Pakistan govt. asks Chief Justice of Pakistan to step down

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb, on Friday demanded that Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial must step down as his position has become controversial, especially after Justice Athar Minallahs note in the Punjab polls case, according to a media report.

The statement came after Justice Minallah, earlier on Friday, maintained that the Supreme Court’s suo motu notice over the delay in the announcement of provincial assembly elections was dismissed by a majority 4-3 ruling, The Express Tribune reported.

Justice Minallah stated that he has read the detailed reasoning of Justice Shah and Justice Mandokhail and that he “agrees with their opinion, particularly regarding the final outcome of the petitions and the suo motu assumption of jurisdiction by a majority of 4 to 3 because this was the understanding in the meeting held in the anteroom on February 27”.

“It is noted that I had not recused nor had any reason to dissociate myself,” he said in a 23-page note dismissing the suo motu case regarding the announcement of the polling date for the Punjab Assembly.

“Justice Athar Minullah has made a major decision today. Following this decision, the majority of judges have reached a conclusion. The decision made by Justice Minullah today raises questions about the judicial process,” Marriyum Aurangzeb said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

She said the CJP’s suo motu notice has already been dismissed with 4-3 vote. However, she added that a three-member bench was formed on a petition that was already “dismissed”.

“When there was no petition, questions arise as to why the bench was formed and why a decision was made,” she said, The Express Tribune reported.

The minister said that the four judges on the bench had urged to make a full court bench, adding that the political parties too were in favour of constituting a full bench so the people could accept the decision.

“Political parties do not shy away from elections, but this is no longer just an election issue. It has become a matter of ‘bench fixing’,” she added, The Express Tribune reported.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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