Thursday April 07, 2022

Additional Security Forces Deployed Outside Supreme Court

Islamabad: Additional forces have been deployed outside the Supreme Court as the court verdict will be announced today regarding deputy speaker National Assembly ruling for rejecting opposition’s no confidence motion.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said that National Assembly (NA) Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s ruling is, prima facie, a violation of Article 95.

The remark came during the hearing of National Assembly proceedings case, as the apex court as resumed deliberation over the case for the fifth consecutive day today.

The apex court may rule on the “unconstitutional” act by National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri to block the vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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.

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.

At this, CJP Bandial objected that 11 people attended the meeting as per the record, but the names of officials who briefed the meeting are not present in the minutes.

CJP Bandial noted that NSA Moeed Yusuf’s name was also missing from the minutes.

Justice Mandokhel inquired if the foreign minister attended the meeting or not.

“It seems like the FM wasn’t present at the parliamentary committee’s meeting,” Bokhari said.

During the hearing, Bokhari discussed the question and answer session in the NA after the no-trust resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan was presented, saying that all the Opposition parties’ members said that they don’t have any questions.

They only asked for voting after which the NA speaker adjourned the session due to a ruckus.

Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan apprised the top court that the leave was granted to move the no-trust motion against the prime minister on March 28 by the Lower House.

The attorney general maintained that the military leadership was present in the National Security Committee (NSC ) meeting, adding that the participants of the meeting were briefed on “very sensitive issues”.

He maintained that he could not give his arguments over the minutes of the NSC meeting in open court. He, however, offered to give an in-camera briefing to the court on the minutes of the NSC meeting.

Continuing his arguments, he said there were 161 MNAs in the assembly when the leave was granted on March 28, adding that “172 lawmakers are required for the no-confidence motion to succeed.”

He maintained that the no-confidence had already been dismissed on March 28.

The attorney general maintained that the prime minister has the power to dissolve the assembly as he is the chief stakeholder, adding that it is not necessary to give a reason for dissolving the NA.

“The assembly will dissolve itself after 48 hours if the president did not make a decision on the prime minister’s advice,” he added.

“Casting a vote on the no-confidence motion is not the basic right of any MNA,” he said, adding that the right is linked with the Constitution and the assembly rules.

“Are you saying that right is linked with rules under Article 95?” asked the CJP.

The AGP said that the government is formulated in the House and the Constitution talks about the five-year term of the House, but not of its members. If the speaker suspends any member, he cannot move the court against the decision, he added.

At the outset of the hearing, Barrister Ali Zafar, representing President Arif Alvi, came to the rostrum and assured the court of completing his arguments within 10 minutes.

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