Hamza Shehbaz got 179 votes. PTI received 176 votes and PML-Q bagged 10 votes in voting for the post of CM Punjab. However, deputy speaker in the Punjab Assembly, Dost Muhammad Mazari, produced a letter, purportedly by Chaudhry Shujaat, stating that he had as party president of PML-Q, directed his members to vote for Hamza Shahbaz. On grounds of this letter, the deputy speaker declared Hamza Shahbaz the winner rejecting 10 votes of the PML-Q on grounds that it went against the explicit wishes expressed by the party head in what is being termed on the social media in the ‘Gujrati Letter’. Dost Muhammad Mazari quoted the ruling by the Supreme Court on 163-A in a parallel case not so long ago, dealing with the defection clause. What happened next was predictable. TV footage showed Mazari being rescued but not before he was slapped, dragged and punched by PTI lawmakers. A quick recap for the readers on background of the decision by Dost Muhammad Mazari. Supreme Court had given a decision upon the Presidential Reference, seeking interpretation of Constitution relating to standing of lawmakers defecting from party line that ‘votes of defecting lawmakers will not be counted.’ This will apply as per the judgement in four cases only. First election of prime minister, second election of chief minister; also covering vote of confidence or no confidence. Third a money bill and fourth a Constitutional Amendment Bill. President Arif Alvi had asked four main questions from the apex court, the second, relevant to what happened in Punjab Assembly CM election was: Will the defecting members’ vote be counted, given equal weightage? The Supreme Court judgement extract on these states, “that the vote of any member of a parliamentary party in a house “that is cast contrary to any direction issued by the latter in terms of para (b) of clause (1) of Article 63-A cannot be counted and must be disregarded, and this is so regardless of whether the party head, subsequent to such vote, proceeds to take, or refrains from taking, action that would result in a declaration of defection.” At that time PTI and the party supporters had strongly supported the SC ruling. However, with the same legal interpretation now going against them, the floodgates of protests have been thrown open. PTI supporters reacted like hooligans as has become a hallmark of their culture. Protests were held in all major cities. ‘In Lahore, a big demo was held at Liberty Chowk. The PTI activists also protested outside Supreme Court Lahore Registry against the ‘manipulation’ of Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz’s re-election. According to a private TV Channel, a group of protesters also tried to get into the building.” [Daily Times JULY 23, 2022] Going to SC to file against the decision, can only lead to more dissent and toxic vitriol by leaders unhappy if SC stands by its older interpretation. Will SC accept the case for hearing considering a clear ruling on the situation was recently delivered? As a nation, we are at a cross road. We need to face and answer some hard-hitting questions until it becomes too late for Pakistan. Too late for us. How we decide to give direction to our country for her future. Our future. If there is to be one. If rejection of defecting lawmakers votes was wrong and against the spirit of democracy was what happened under Suri that day at NA was also wrong and against the spirit of democracy? * Is hooliganism the right way to protest? * What image this continued taking to streets gives to the world? On everything that does not go in favor of any X party, bad-mouthing and playing the institutions gives a clear signal to international institutions and nations that investment and/or lending to Pakistan is a poor decision. * Do we wish to sink our economy quicker than it already is sinking? And finally, does our allegiance to any party at all, stands higher than our allegiance to Pakistan & her welfare? The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets at @yasmeen_9.