Pakistan CS fails to find an immediate solution as the country remains in the grip of a constitutional crisis
All eyes are on Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which must decide the fate of the controversial decision of the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) who on Sunday rejected the motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan on the grounds that she was part of a ‘foreign conspiracy’.
Earlier today, the hearing in the case was adjourned until tomorrow without any substantive decision from the Supreme Court.
The judges’ remarks in today’s hearing suggest that they are so far undecided about the legality of the situation that emerged after President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on the advice of the Prime Minister Imran Khan, as well as the rejection of the proposed opposition no-confidence motion – the vote of which was to take place on Sunday.
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If the vice-president had authorized the vote, the opposition could have adopted the motion of no confidence against Imran Khan.
Following the unexpected rejection of the motion of no confidence, the opposition organized a sit-in in the National Assembly and also held a symbolic session of the assembly after the session itself was adjourned indefinitely by the vice-president.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ayaz Sadiq, who served as the chairman of the NA during the party’s government, assumed the role of chairman of the symbolic opposition session during of which a motion of no confidence against Imran Khan was passed. with a majority.
Although the symbolic opposition session was only a form of protest and had no legal value, the passage of the motion of no confidence during the session confirmed that the opposition could have ousted Imran Khan if the motion had been authorized by the Vice President.
DELAY IN SC VERDICT RAISES EYEBROWS
When the Supreme Court learned on Sunday of the constitutional crisis caused by these developments, it was expected that a verdict would be delivered the same day, given the gravity of the situation. However, the proceedings were adjourned until Monday and today’s hearing also failed to reach a verdict.
Legal experts are of the opinion that this delay prolongs the constitutional crisis in the country.
“This is an open and closed case. The vice president’s decision is unconstitutional and the supreme court should have declared it null and void immediately,” said an Islamabad lawyer who wished not to be named due to its connection with the case in question. .
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, who is also a lawyer, indirectly criticized Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial for rejecting the request of PPP lawyer Farooq H Naek from a court plenary to hear the case.
In a tweet, he said: “While rejecting Farooq Naek’s request for a full court, my Lord CJ Bandial said, ‘Haven’t you got no confidence on the bench? “Should have answered, ‘Absolutely my Lord, but it’s April 4th! “”
On this day in 1979, Pakistani Prime Minister-elect and PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged to death in what is now described as a judicial murder. Khokhar, therefore, referred to the blemished record of Pakistan’s justice system while questioning the Chief Justice’s remarks during today’s hearing.
Senior reporter Asma Shirazi agrees the verdict should have been announced immediately.
“The Vice President’s decision was unconstitutional and being the guardian of the Constitution, the Supreme Court should declare it null and void. This measure, if left unchallenged, will set a dangerous precedent that a Prime Minister can carry baseless allegations of treason against the opposition if he faces a motion of no confidence,” she said.
WILL THE TRIBUNAL INVESTIGATE THE “FOREIGN PLOT”?
Since the vice president had mentioned a “foreign conspiracy” as the reason for rejecting the motion of no confidence, the SC could also be drawn into the saga of the “threat” letters. Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ministers relied on populist pronouncements to convince public opinion that an international power was working with the opposition to overthrow him.
But his claims are not taken seriously and are widely seen by observers and analysts as a desperate attempt to save his government.
Asma Shirazi said the treason charge against the opposition was “dangerous”, adding that the SC should investigate the alleged letter and get to the bottom of the government’s claims of a “foreign conspiracy”.
As the uncertainty caused by political developments persists, the Supreme Court hearing will resume at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday).
(Ailia Zehra is a Pakistani journalist who is the editor of Naya Daur Media-Friday Times)