Sunday Apr 03, 2022
ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Sunday took notice of the political situation in the country and said that "any orders and actions that 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 of Pakistan 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.
The apex court has adjourned the hearing till tomorrow (Monday). Meanwhile, the top court issued notices to Attorney General Khalid Khalid Jawed Khan, the speaker, deputy speaker, defence secretary, interior secretary, and all political parties.
According to reports, the judicial staff also arrived at the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Ijaz ul Haq also reached the Supreme Court.
Commenting on today’s development, CJP Bandial said that the law-and-order situation should be maintained.
“This is an important matter and a hearing will be held tomorrow,” he said, barring all political parties and government departments to take advantage of the ongoing situation.
Regarding the Opposition’s petition, he said that the hearing should be fixed for PPP’s petition.
CJP Bandial proposed to make President Alvi a party in this case and said that a hearing will be held tomorrow in this regard after the hearing of the 63A 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 Muhammad Ali Mazhar said that Punjab Assembly’s session was adjourned because of the poor law and order situation in the country.
Meanwhile, Justice Bandial added that the court cannot interfere much in the proceeding of the National Assembly; however, he said the court is aware of the situation there.
Regarding Punjab Assembly’s session, he said the matter will be taken into consideration after a request/petition is filed.
He also mentioned that "symbolic voting" was conducted by the Opposition leaders, highlighting that Ayaz Sadiq conducted the voting on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister and over 200 members of the assembly voted in favour of the motion.
Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry, speaking to the media after the hearing, said that “political decisions should not be taken to courts”.
Chaudhry shared that the PTI will get an opportunity to keep its point of view in front of the court, adding that the apex court had issued notices for tomorrow.
“Political decisions should not be taken in courts. People have the right to make political decisions and political parties should not be afraid to go to the people,” said Chaudhry.
The former information minister questioned why the political parties were “running away” from elections.
“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.
The former information minister claimed that the Opposition is left with "tears in their eyes."
The joint Opposition has also prepared a petition to cancel the ruling of the deputy speakers under which the National Assembly session was adjourned for an indefinite period as Suri cancelled the voting on the no-confidence motion, terming it “unconstitutional”.
According to the petition prepared by the joint 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 NA Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri for violating the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) 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 further 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.
Sources privy to the matter said that a special bench of the top court will hear the case.
Speaker's decision is 'final and cannot be challenged'
Meanwhile, former federal minister for information Fawad Chaudhry said that decision of the speaker is “final and cannot be challenged in any court.”
“The power of speaker in this regard is unlimited,” he said while talking to journalists.
The former minister said that the deputy speaker has taken the decision "courageously," adding that although “we have lost our government, we are still celebrating and they [the Opposition] are crying.”
Taking a jibe at the Opposition leaders, he challenged that if they are so confident, why don’t they fight in the elections.
He reiterated that elections will be held within the next 15 days, adding that under Article 58, the decision to dissolve assemblies lies with the prime minister.
Earlier in the day, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announced to take the matter of no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan to the Supreme Court.
He maintained that they have the majority and have the required numbers to dislodge the prime minister.
“The speaker committed an unconstitutional act at the final stage. The Constitution of Pakistan has been violated and the punishment for violating the constitution is clear.”
Taking to Twitter, Bilawal said, “the government has violated the Constitution. Did not allow voting on the no-confidence motion.”
“Our lawyers are on their way to Supreme Court. We call on all institutions to protect, uphold, defend & implement the Constitution of Pakistan,” he wrote.