Thursday, Jun 30, 2022

Pakistan Supreme Court Notes Violations In Trust Vote Proceedings, Adjourns Hearing By A Day

The Supreme Court observed that a debate before vote on the no-confidence motion had been clearly mentioned in the law but didn't take place.

Pakistans Prime Minister Imran Khan AP photo

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Monday noted that there were violations in the proceedings of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly and adjourned the hearings in the high-profile case by a day. 

The apex court's bench, comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, took up the matter after NA's Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri rejected the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, following which Khan advised President Arif Alvi to dissolve the national assembly and call fresh elections. President Alvi accepted the advice.

President Alvi, all the political parties, and Supreme Court Bar Association have all been made respondents in the case before the Supreme Court. 

Lawyers from the government and the Opposition presented their arguments regarding the ruling by the deputy speaker. 

During the arguments, the chief justice rejected the Opposition's plea for a full bench.

"The court will hear all representatives of the parties before concluding the hearing," the chief justice said during the hearing.

Later, the court adjourned the case until 12pm on Tuesday. 

Chief Justice Bandial had earlier in the day said the court would issue a "reasonable order" today on the issue.

During the proceedings, Justice Ahsan noted that there were violations in the proceedings of the no-trust resolution, Dawn reported.

Justice Bandial observed that a debate before voting on the no-confidence motion had been clearly mentioned in the law but didn't take place.

Meanwhile, Justice Akhtar expressed dubiousness over the deputy speaker's constitutional authority to pass such a ruling, the paper said. In my opinion, he said, only the speaker had the right to pass the ruling. "The deputy speaker chairs the session on the non-availability of the speaker."

Justice Bandial also observed that the deputy speaker's ruling mentioned the meeting of the parliamentary committee for security. "The opposition deliberately didn't attend the meeting," he said.

Farooq H Naek, who was representing the joint opposition, pleaded the court to issue a verdict on the matter today.

But Justice Ahsan said it was impossible to pass the verdict today, adding that the apex court's decision will have far reaching outcomes. 

"We can't pass a decision in the air," Justice Bandial said, adjourning the hearing till 12pm on Tuesday.

On Sunday, after a brief hearing the court issued a written order, which said the court would like to "examine whether such an action (dismissal of the no-trust motion on the basis of Article 5) is protected by the ouster (removal from the court's jurisdiction) contained in Article 69 of the Constitution."

The apex court intervened after the opposition bid to remove Prime Minister Khan through no-confidence on Sunday was scuttled by deputy speaker Suri.

The government of Imran Khan had vowed to oppose the court action on the plea that under Article 69, which says that proceedings of parliament cannot be called in question by any court.

The Opposition termed the deputy speaker ruling as violation of the constitution which it contended was open for challenge in the Supreme Court.

The decision of the court would also determine the legality of the presidential order to dissolve the National Assembly.

After the no-confidence issue was rejected, Prime Minister Khan advised the president to dissolve the parliament and call a fresh election, who followed it and by the evening both the National Assembly and the cabinet ceased to exist.

However, opposition parties rejected both the ruling of deputy speaker and dissolution of the parliament, and not only challenged it in the court but also fought tooth and nail outside the Supreme Court.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shehbaz Sharif at a press conference accused Prime Minister Khan of violating the constitution and imposing a civil-martial law in the country.

He rejected the conspiracy to topple Khan, saying if there really was an international letter, then why the Speaker of the National Assembly accepted the voting on the no-confidence motion.

Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged the Chief Justice to constitute a full court bench to decide about the ruling. 

"No-confidence motion is a democratic way to oust the Prime Minister and we will continue to defend the constitution,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to a notification issued by President Dr Arif Alvi 's office, Imran Khan will continue to serve as the prime minister of Pakistan till the appointment of a caretaker premier under Article 224-A(4) of the Constitution.

Separately, Alvi has asked Prime Minister Khan and opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif to provide names for the appointment of a caretaker prime minister to hold the office during the period of elections.

Under the constitution, a neutral caretaker government is responsible for holding fair and free elections through the Election Commission of Pakistan.

With PTI inputs