SC likely to rule on NA deputy speaker’s move of throwing out no-confidence motion

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Supreme Court’s five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial is likely to rule on National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s move of throwing out the joint opposition’s no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The NA deputy speaker’s move and the dissolution of the National Assembly by the president have created a political vacuum and threw the country into a full-blown constitutional crisis.

The NA deputy speaker, threw out the no-confidence motion against Khan, ruling it was part of a “foreign conspiracy” to oust the PTI-led federal government.

The opposition has challenged the NA deputy speaker’s decision to block the vote in the Supreme Court, which almost wrapped up the deliberation in the case on Wednesday after lawyers for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and President Arif Alvi concluded arguments.

Barrister Ali Zafar, who was representing President Arif Alvi, said the court should not involve itself in parliamentary procedure.

“My humble submission would be that if your lordships start monitoring parliamentary affairs, there would be no end to that,” he told the five-member bench.

The Supreme Court will reconvene on Thursday at around 9:30 am as Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said on Wednesday said that the bench wanted to wrap up the hearing on Thursday. “Let’s start early from tomorrow to conclude the case,” he had said.

Constitutional experts say that the apex court could order parliament to be restored, call for fresh elections, or bar Khan from power if he is found to have violated the constitution.

It could also decide that it cannot intervene in parliamentary affairs.

Justice Munib Akhtar said that the role of the NA speaker is ‘justiciable’ and that means the court can peruse the speaker’s ruling under the constitution. 

The Supreme Court has turned down the plea of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for an in-camera hearing on the Lettergate issue.

The PTI’s counsel Babar Awan asked the five-member larger SC bench whether an in-camera hearing is possible as his client wanted to keep the foreign office’s briefing before the court.

The CJP, however, rejected Awan’s request, observing that the court is not currently asking for the letter.

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