- SC declares NA deputy speaker’s ruling unconstitutional.
- National Assembly has been restored.
- PM’s advice to dissolve National Assembly declared null and void.
- SC orders President Arif Alvi to convene NA session on April 9.
- NA to hold voting on no-confidence motion on Saturday at 10 am.
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan restored the National Assembly Thursday after it declared the government’s decision to dissolve the assembly and NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s ruling against the Constitution.
“…the prime minister did not have the right to advise the president to dissolve the assembly […] all the decisions made till date have been nullified,” the top court’s ruling said.
The top court has ordered National Assembly Speaker Asad Qasier to summon the session on Saturday (April 9) at 10am to allow the vote on the no-confidence motion against the premier.
“…if the no-confidence motion against the prime minister succeeds, then the assembly will appoint the new prime minister,” the top court’s order said.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial had earlier said that the court will move forward only after seeing national interest and practical possibilities.
The chief justice noted that the deputy speaker’s ruling is, prima facie, a violation of Article 95, as the apex court resumed deliberation over the “unconstitutional” act by Suri for the fifth consecutive day today.
The apex court’s five-member larger bench — headed by Justice Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Aijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel — is hearing the case.
‘Parliament should be restored’: Shahbaz
Meanwhile, when Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif was called to the rostrum, he said that if the court acknowledges that the ruling of the deputy speaker was “erroneous”, then it should restore Parliament.
Shahbaz further highlighted that if the deputy speaker’s move was unconstitutional then decisions taken by PM Imran Khan with the help of President Arif Alvi are also “insignificant”, adding that the SC’s statement also hints at no assembly has being dissolved.
“The no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan will automatically be restored once the apex court rules out the ruling of the deputy speaker,” he said.
Calling the ruling of the deputy speaker “unconstitutional and illegal”, the PML-N leader said that voting was to be held on April 3 and “constituencies cannot be dissolved during the proceedings.”
He highlighted that several government allies and MNAs joined the Opposition, assuring the five-member bench that the joint Opposition will protect the Constitution of Pakistan.
CJP Bandial said that the proceedings of the court are being held under Article 184 (3) as this is a public interest case.
Shahbaz further added that political stability is inter-connected with the Constitution of Pakistan.
During the cross-questioning session, Justice Mandokhel asked Shahbaz that the Opposition has been demanding fresh elections and now that they have the opportunity, why are they against it?
Replying to his question, Shahbaz said that the election has been “stolen” and laws of the Constitution have been “violated”; to which Justice Mandokhel said that all laws that have been violated will be restored.
AGP not willing to defend deputy speaker’s ruling
During the hearing, AGP Khalid Jawed Khan excused himself from defending NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri’s April 3 ruling.
Khalid Jawed Khan argued that his focus is on new elections in the country. Those who have been dubbing the assembly as selected for the past four years now wanted to become the prime minister of the same assembly, he added.
Meanwhile, Jamal Khan Mandokhail noted that it seemed that the speaker issued the ruling considering himself above all others.
CJP raises objection over missing names of officials from PNSC meeting minutes
Naeem Bokhari, the counsel representing National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, presented the minutes of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security’s (PCNS) meeting in the SC.
During the hearing, CJP Umar Ata Bandial asked who the participants were of the PCNS meeting and who briefed them.
Responding to the query, Bokhari said that the national security adviser briefed the meeting.