Defected members' votes must not to be counted for no-trust motion: Barrister Ali Zafar.

ISLAMABAD -- Barrister Syed Ali Zafar on Thursday said the votes of defected members of the National Assembly should not be taken into account in the vote on a no-confidence motion against their party's prime minister.

Even if anyone was allowed to cast his / her vote, but that was not to be counted, he said in his arguments before a five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel which heard the presidential reference seeking its opinion on Article 63-A of the Constitution.

During the course of proceedings, Raza Rabbani, as a parliamentarian, started his arguments in person. He said the Election Commission could review the declaration made by the party chief. The Commission was empowered to ensure that the evidence of the declaration was free from doubt and suspicion, he added.

He said a person who was not loyal to the party did not mean that he was dishonest. The affidavit given in the nomination papers was of affiliation with the party and the real oath was that which was taken as a member of the National Assembly.

He said Article 63-A warned the members not to vote against the party policy and the members knew that voting against the party would have consequences.

He said the Attorney General continued to cite examples of Western democracies that were irrelevant as political parties in Pakistan could not become institutions like those in other countries. Governments continued to be toppled by sending members from one place to another, he added.

The CJP said the Supreme Court was here for the supremacy of the Constitution.

Raza Rabbani said the campaign against the institutions was launched only after standing for the Constitution.

The Chief Justice said as long as there were adherents of the Constitution, criticism did not matter.

Raza Rabbani said Article 62(1)(F) did not apply to defection from the party and under Article 63-A, a dissident member was to be de-seated, not disqualified. If the purpose was to disqualify a dissident member, then the term would have been fixed in the Constitution, he added.

Addressing Raza Rabbani, Justice Munib asked that he (Raza) had cried when he voted for the military courts and stated in his speech that the vote was the trust of the party. He asked what would be the betrayal if he had resigned.

Raza Rabbani said he could have...

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