Pakistan plunges into constitutional crisis

Opposition members review their options (Twitter)

Opposition members review their options (Twitter)

By Nasir Aijaz
The AsiaN Representative

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s political crisis took a new turn on Sunday when the judiciary stepped in after the President Arif Alvi approved dissolution of parliament for holding the elections afresh on the advice of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, taking notice of the political situation in the country and said that “any orders and actions of Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi regarding the dissolution of the National Assembly shall be subject to the order of this court.”

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial reached the top court after President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly. The development came after the Opposition leaders demanded to review the “unconstitutional” ruling given by National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, who on Sunday did not allow moving the No Trust Motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan and out-rightly rejected it saying that ‘the No Trust Motion was in contradiction of Constitution, as it was moved on the instigation of foreign powers’.

The apex court however adjourned the hearing till Monday (Today) and issued notices to Attorney General, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of National Assembly, Defence Secretary, Interior Secretary, and all political parties.

Justice Bandial barred all political parties and government departments from take advantage of the prevailing situation.

The apex court will also hold hearing of petition filed by opposition party Pakistan People’s Party. Chief Justice proposed to make President Alvi a party in this case and said that a hearing will be held on Monday 9Today) in this regard after the hearing of a presidential reference.

The top judge further directed all state agencies and provincial law enforcement agencies to maintain the law and order situation in the country.

Justice Bandial was quoted as saying by the media ‘that the court cannot interfere much in the proceeding of the National Assembly’, however, he said the court is aware of the situation there.

Meanwhile, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry, speaking to the media after the hearing, said that “political decisions should not be taken to courts”.

“Courts do not have the right to challenge the speaker’s ruling. The reason is written in the ruling how Article 5 is applied,” said Chaudhry.

Meanwhile, the Combined Opposition has also prepared a petition to get canceled the ruling of the Deputy Speakers under which the National Assembly session was adjourned for an indefinite period rejecting the voting on the no-confidence motion.

According to the petition prepared by the Opposition, the speaker should be directed to convene the session today as “the deputy speaker cannot adjourn the session as it is unconstitutional.”

Furthermore, the Opposition has filed a petition against President Arif Alvi, PM Imran Khan, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri for violating the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Bar Association has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court on the constitutional crisis. The constitutional petition filed by SCBA states that a voting of no-confidence motion was a must, and the speaker cannot cancel the voting by a ruling.

It was further noted that the deputy speaker’s ruling contradicts Article 95(2). It said that according to Article 58(1) the premier cannot even “Advise dissolution of the assembly,” once the no-confidence motion is filed against him/her.

Pakistan has plunged into constitutional crisis as following the presidential approval to the advice of dissolving parliament on Sunday, the country is without any Prime Minister. However, former Interior Minister of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf government, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed claimed in a statement that Imran Khan can remain in power for another fortnight.

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