SC asks for bribery allegations against Punjab govt to be substantiated

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought additional material from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) to substantiate their allegations against the Punjab government giving bribes to their MPAs.

A division bench of the apex court led by Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan took up contempt proceedings against the interior minister regarding his alleged threatening statement in violation of the July 1 order of the SC.

A day earlier, the PTI lawyers submitted before the court the transcript of Sanaullah’s statement from his presser on July 18 wherein he had allegedly spoken about making the former ruling party’s lawmakers disappear ahead of the Punjab chief minister’s election

During the hearing today, the judge asked the counsel to explain specific SC directions which were violated by the contemnor and questioned if they had approached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the violation of election laws.
PTI lawyers submitted three affidavits of its provincial assembly members before the apex court, stating that they had been offered millions of rupees to change their loyalties.

Advocate Faisal Chaudhry claimed that Sanaullah had declared that he would shift PTI lawmakers around. He alleged that PTI MPA Masood Majeed was “bought” for Rs400 million and smuggled to Türkiye.

The lawyer further maintained that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) worker Raheela contacted three PTI MPAs and that Punjab government spokesperson Atta Tarar offered Rs250 million to these MPAs.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar asked the date of when Raheela had contacted the PTI MPAs and further questioned where the original affidavit was.

“The original affidavit is in Lahore,” the PTI lawyer stated.

Justice Akhtar maintained that the wording on all three affidavits was the same.

The bench raised legal questions on the affidavits and noted that MPAs who gave affidavits didn’t mention the specific date on which they were given the offer.

They asked the counsel to submit additional material to substantiate their allegations in this matter.

The court stated that the case against Raheela and Tarar was not one of contempt of court, and when asked by the lawyer to take a suo moto action against them, Justice Akhtar declared that that was the prerogative of the chief justice of the SC.

“It would be a criminal offense when a crime has occurred,” Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan said, adding that no crime could be prejudged.

Despite giving adverse remarks on the contempt petition as well as PTI MPA affidavits, the bench decided to keep the case pending.

The court also heard Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s contempt of court petition against Sanaullah and directed his lawyer to bring more evidence on record in relation to it.

“Prove the allegation of contempt of court,” Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan stated, maintaining that the court’s July 1 order had not been violated.

Justice Ahsan told Elahi’s counsel Chaudhry Faisal Hussain that his apprehensions were based on assumptions.

“You have to make a contempt case which should not be based on assumptions. We are a court of law and we decide matters in accordance with the law,” he stated.

Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.

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