The ruling of Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari has triggered an intense debate on whether his decision in the light of PML-Q head Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s letter – asking his MPAs to vote for Hamza in a volte-face at the eleventh hour – was legally valid, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Article 63-A. Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan said that one only needed to win with simple majority in run-of-election and hence Pervez Elahi has won the election and Shujaat Hussain’s decision is not binding if the party lawmakers are not communicated about the parliamentary party’s decision. He said the Parliamentary Party has the right to decide the matter and not the party head. He added that the party head only has the move to prosecute any lawmaker(s), if the parliamentary party’s instructions have been violated. However, he said that if the party head feels that the lawmaker needs to be given benefit of doubt, he can drop his right to prosecute against the party’s lawmakers who violated the party’s parliamentary party. Barrister Ali Zafar claimed that the ruling of the deputy speaker was “unconstitutional”, adding that the SC will soon issue a verdict on the matter. He said that when it came to casting a vote of no-confidence, the party head had no role to play, adding that the parliamentary party is the first one to decide who to vote for. Zafar said that at the time of the no-confidence motion, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had written a letter to the National Assembly speaker, while notices to the defecting members were issued by the general secretary of the party. Abdul Moiz Jaferii said Article 63-A referred to the parliamentary party and its directions, and then it went on to describe the process and procedure of going against your party by speaking of the role of the “party head”. Jaferii said there was enough room to interpret that Shujaat had been inserted into the process. “It is prima facie illegitimate and it is an illegal ruling.” He stated that the Supreme Court clearly had a political party head in mind when it passed the short order, and not the parliamentary party. The order repeatedly refers to the political party being the bedrock of the democratic process, and clearly the parliamentary party is simply a procedural tool in this process. Anwar Mansoor Khan explained the current situation in the context of Shujaat’s letter. He said that if the parliamentary party had already given a direction then “the same parliamentary leader will be the person to issue directions within the House, and hence, there will be no issue of defection”. However, he added that the parliamentary leader could only take notice of defection if the party head conveyed the same to him. Mansoor said the word used in the Constitution was in the context of the parliamentary party and not the party leader, which meant “the party as a whole”. “This is crucial and the matter will likely land in the court”.