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Pakistan Supreme Court quashes Deputy Speaker’s ruling, PM Imran Khan to face no-trust vote on Saturday

Giving it's verdict, Pakistan's apex court termed the prime minister's decision to advise the president to dissolve the National Assembly as "unconstitutional".

The no-confidence motion against Imran Khan was tabled by the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on March 28. (AP/File)

Quashing Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri’s April 3 ruling and the subsequent dissolution of the National Assembly, Pakistan’s Supreme Court Thursday ordered the revival of the no-confidence motion against embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Imran Khan will now face the no-trust motion on Saturday (April 9).

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Giving it’s verdict, Pakistan’s apex court said the prime minister was bound by Constitution and therefore, he could not advise the president to dissolve assemblies, Pakistan’s Geo News reported.

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Further terming President Arif Alvi’s decision to dissolve the National Assembly as “illegal”, the verdict was passed with all five judges unanimously voting against it, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.

Earlier during the day, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, while hearing a petition on whether Imran Khan and his allies had the legal right to dissolve parliament, had said that Suri’s order to dismiss the no-confidence motion against the former Prime Minister, was “erroneous”.

Chief Justice Bandial further noted that the move to dismiss a no-trust motion against Khan through a controversial ruling is, prima facie, a violation of Article 95 of the Constitution.

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The remarks came as a five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Bandial, took up the case around 9.30 am Thursday. Senator Ali Zafar, representing President Alvi, was asked by the Bench as to whether the prime minister was the people’s representative and if the “Parliament was not a guardian of the Constitution”.

The Supreme Court also asked the President’s advocate as to how could there be a constitutional crisis if everything was happening according to the law of the land. The CJP questioned whether the formation of the federal government was an “internal matter” of the Parliament.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s election commission said on Thursday that it cannot hold snap polls within 90 days, as requested by the president, and the earliest it could do so was October. “The Election Commission though fully committed to hold elections would however require at least four additional months,” the commission’s statement said, according to a Reuters report.

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The president had asked the election commission to propose a date within the next 90 days to hold snap polls after Prime Minister Khan dissolved the lower house of parliament on Sunday.

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri on Sunday ruled that the no-confidence motion was linked with the “foreign conspiracy” to topple the government and hence was not maintainable. Minutes later, President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The prevailing crisis began to unfold after the opposition submitted a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister on March 28. The voting was scheduled to be held on April 3 but the deputy speaker rejected the motion, citing “conspiracy”.

However, in a dramatic move, Pakistan’s Opposition approved a ‘no-confidence motion’ against Khan in its “own session” of Parliament the next day after it was dissolved by the President, and declared that the no-trust motion was “successful” with 197 votes.

Khan has dismissed the motion saying that the move to remove him was an attempt at regime change backed by the United States.

First published on: 07-04-2022 at 21:08 IST
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