What is the outcome of the current political turmoil? There are numerous possibilities in the current political crisis!. How will the things unwind in the coming days and who (either present PTI government or combined opposition) going to pull out a political or legal card?
Some of the events that are being witnessed was preempted in a legal column that was shared on floor crossing, formation of a forward block, vote of confidence and arrests of political leaders in December 2018 on Pakistan Today. It still holds.
The most important medium is the constitutional law to politically maneuver in the current game set. Lets see what are some of the legal and constitutional options or maneuverability available with the possible outcome in the near future.
The below are speculative or assume that these are foreseeable possible outcomes and does not relate to any bearings to judicial, political proceedings in any contemptuous way or related biasedness towards any one party.
1) Session is prolonged without end:- As per the rules of business governing the National Assembly speaker has the power to raise, probe and entertain any point of order, questions or comments from treasury or bench on a given agenda in the assembly. The endless debate is going to lead to frustration and another series of contempt petitions in the Supreme Court is expected. The rules of business allows loop hole or indiscrete powers to speaker or deputy speaker when it comes managing the house or agenda in the house even if its vote of confidence. However not more than one agenda can be admitted at a time. The speaker has the power to allow as many questions and answer or comments. There are limits to the quality, time and words of a question or comments however the power to allow member to speak at a stretch till he seats down is also within the power of the speaker.
2) A reference is sent to the election commission against those members of the PTI members who have switched to the opposition side. The speaker has the power to send the reference to election commission within 30 day receiving such a reference. If its PTI appointed speaker he will do so before the vote is counted. Process will be initiated beforehand. The outcome of the reference again is subject to series of proceedings which will delay and magnify further legal lacunas in the elections laws.
3) The session may witness disruption which may offer reason/ excuse to the speaker to suspend the session for a day or more. As per the rules of business the speaker has indiscrete powers to manage and control any “disruptions” either in the house or galleries and may take appropriate steps which may include postponing a particular session.
ELECTION COMMISSION AND DEFECTIONS:
4) The disqualification of the “defected” PTI member in case of floor crossing will be delayed to the maximum by first, the Election commission and later by the “newly elected” speaker of the national assembly. This is assuming that the newly elected speaker by the opposition members decides to postpone the reference that is sent to the election commission. Lets assume that the reference is finally sent then the “long drawn” process in the election commission may delay the outcome of the reference further. Just in case the recommendation of the Election Commission is send to the newly-elected speaker, it gives indiscrete powers to the speaker who may again delay the procedure to deseat the “defected” member.
5) There may be a penal penalty lodged against the speaker and deputy speaker by the Honorable Supreme Court as a result of the contempt petitions to be filed next week in court. Supreme Court will then resume the hearing and pass on an administrative order which will then put the treasury benches and courts at a confrontation path.
6) The Supreme Court may allow stay order or interim relief filed by the so called “defected” PTI members and this relief may even allow them to vote or contest next elections.
7) The courts may find many multiple petitions asking to give suggestions on the way to conduct the current session of the parliament.
8) There is a possibility that the court may also find the prime minister or another head of the party in contempt.
9) The contempt of court may actually also infuse a small penalty on speaker or even leader of the house which may qualify them for disqualification.
10) There may be petition moved for disqualification of the leader of the house or speaker of the house.
11) Crisis may prolong and this may lead to the scuffle or scene created in the National Assembly and this can lead to the proceeding of the assembly to be challenged yet again.
12) The PTI defected members who number somewhere 15-20 may decide to vote for PTI after all and this will create an interesting scenario which will again may be challenged in the Supreme Courts.
13) There may be even a petition in the Supreme Court to appoint chairperson instead of the speaker for the ongoing session.
It is not farfetched to assume that the future of politics in Pakistan may witness above such possibilities and perhaps see much worst. Hence the below is not dwelling on the thoughts if such a scenario is about to take place or to judge its morality, rather it is meant to share if such a scenario may hold a legal bar. The worst for some is yet to come.