FM Bilawal warns of ‘martial law, emergency-like situation’ if SC larger bench not formed
Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari warned of a ‘martial law, emergency-like situation’ in the country if the Supreme Court does not constitute a larger bench to hear the PTI’s petition against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone polls to the Punjab Assembly.
The statement from Bilalwal Bhutto during a media talk after the top court reserved its verdict on Monday.
“My concern is that if a larger bench is not constituted then such a constitutional crisis will be born that God forbid martial law or emergency-type situation [could be] imposed again on Pakistan,” FM Bilawal said on Monday while talking to media reporters in Larkana.
Bilawal also acknowledged that he was making a “big” statement.
Bilawal added that there was still time for everyone to “come back to their senses”.
Larkana: If a larger bench is not constituted, martial law or an emergency may be imposed. The Supreme Court has historically come under fire. It is preferable to have a larger Supreme Court bench. According to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman, in a media interview. pic.twitter.com/1jP1gTfjGb
— Engr. Jahangir Baloch (@ComradeJKBaloch) April 3, 2023
FM said that the institutions’ conduct should benefit the nation and “for that, it is necessary that our honourable judges form a full court to answer this important question [regarding the election date].”
He added that the impact of a decision by “three individuals” would be different from that of a larger bench, urging the apex court to consider the prevalent situation in the country.
He said the criticism of the higher judiciary from within its own ranks was historic and an indication of their no-confidence in these three judges.
The foreign minister also questioned when it had happened before that a nine-member bench was whittled down to three after protest from its members.
“When it had happened before that a nine-member bench was whittled down to three after protest from its members,” he questioned.
He also raised a question about Justice Ahsan’s inclusion on the bench when he had originally distanced himself from February’s proceedings on the apex court’s suo motu notice of delay in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections.
While talking about CJP Bandial, Bilawal Bhutto said: “I think when your own court and your own judges express no confidence in your character and the bench, and distance themselves when such an important question is before you, then the constitutional thing to do is to form a larger bench in which all judges sit except those two who were caught on record taking advice from the opposition.”
“I think when dictatorial methods are seen in the court and when judges themselves are saying ‘we have a one-man show’ then it will be better the chief justice and our judges get their own house in order and form a larger bench before anyone else takes any steps,” he added.