ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday said verdict of the apex court on the presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution would determine the country’s political future.
“Pakistan’s fate and political future are linked with this case,” Fawad said, hoping that the Supreme Court would give a clear line to halt the scourge of horse-trading once and for all.
Talking to media persons outside the Supreme Court along with Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, Fawad referring to the Sindh House episode said, “It is imperative to put an end to the trade of consciousness and sale-purchase of the vote to ensure a transparent democratic system.”
Fawad said the reference filed by the government under Article 186 of the Constitution was meant to get replies to those unanswered questions, mainly related to horse-trading.
He said the attorney general for Pakistan’s stance, which he argued in the court, was that an MNA’s vote belonged to his party and a collective one and he was not an ordinary voter.
“When a person gets elected as a legislator on a specific party ticket, his/her vote should be considered as a collective one and on a party’s behalf,” he added. “If there is no restriction on such vote then what was the purpose of Article 63-A in the Constitution.”
Fawad said there was consensus that National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser would decide whether the vote of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s dissidents be counted or not.
“Our stance is that the disqualification should be for lifetime and these are the points on which the attorney general is arguing the case … will take time, but this case will prove to be a base of the country’s future politics,” the minister remarked.
He said had the Election Commission of Pakistan taken action against the alleged horse-trading in the recent Senate elections, it would have come to an end.
After the alleged horse-trading in the Senate, he said, the apex court had directed the ECP to ensure traceability of the vote so that the action could be taken against the vote-sellers.
The ECP did not implement the direction of the apex court which led to opposition-sponsored special markets which they established to buy loyalties, he added.
Fawad said the apex court’s decision on the reference would change the political landscape in the country. It would be a “big step” if a parliamentarian was disqualified for a lifetime over horse-trading.
Addressing the dissident MNAs of PTI, he said if anybody had reservations with the prime minister, he should resign first and then return to parliament after contesting the election again.
He said the court was satisfied with the action taken by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police in the aftermath of the public protest outside the Sindh House and disposed of the matter. Public reaction was natural but the dirty game played inside the Sindh House was yet to be answered.
To a query, he said the PTI was the party of middle-class people which was complying with true democratic norms.