SC reinstates National Assembly, federal cabinet

Date:

In its landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated the National Assembly and termed Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Suri’s ruling on the dismissal of the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan unconstitutional.

The five-member large bench, reinstating the federal cabinet directed that a National Assembly session be called on Saturday to hold the voting on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan. It also held that the session cannot be adjourned without the voting.

Ahead of the ruling, the court summoned Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, who arrived at the court with the watchdog’s legal team.

The CEC was asked whether the delimitation was restricted to a particular area or was it supposed to be held countrywide.

In his response the CEC said that it would take the electoral body six months for the delimitations to take place and the elections to be held.

Speaking to the media following the announcement of the apex court’s decision, PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman congratulated the country for the victory.

He also called his supporters to celebrate a day of thanksgiving on Friday.

Hearing

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday, during the hearing, said that it was evident that the April 3 ruling of Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri was ‘wrong’,

The remarks came during the hearing of the apex court’s suo motu on the legality of the deputy speaker’s ruling in the lower house. A five-member bench headed by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Mandokhel is hearing the case.

“The real question at hand is what happens next,” he said, adding that now the PML-N counsel and the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan would guide the court on how to proceed.

The chief justice further remarked that there would be no stability in the country even if the National Assembly was restored.

“We have to look at national interest,” he observed.

Earlier, presenting his arguments, Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan argued that everyone needed to be loyal to the state.

Clarifying that he was not defending the ruling, he maintained that he believed that early elections was the only solution to the problem.

He further argued that prime minister was the “biggest stakeholder” and, therefore, had the power to dissolve the assembly.

“The prime minister does not need to give reasons for dissolving the assembly,” the AGP contended.

He added that under the constitution, the assemblies would have dissolved even if the president failed to act on the premier’s advice within 48 hours.

“Voting on the no-confidence motion is not the fundamental right of a lawmaker,” he argued.

“The right to vote is subject to the Constitution and assembly rules,” AGP argued. He also pointed out that if the NA speaker suspends a member, they cannot approach a court against it.

“Are you trying to say that voting on the no-confidence motion is subject to the rules,” the CJP asked, to which the AGP replied that all proceedings, including the no-confidence motion, were carried out in accordance with the rules.

The AGP said that there was no “firewall” that gave complete immunity to parliamentary proceedings.

“The court will decide the extent to which parliamentary proceedings can be reviewed,” he said. The AGP pointed out that the court could intervene if the speaker declared a person with the minority number of votes to be the prime minister.

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