Why shouldn't SC try Qasim Suri for abrogating Constitution? asks CJP Isa

CJP passes remarks during hearing of Suri's plea challenging ECP's decision to void his election in 2018

Maryam Nawaz
Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa. — SC website/File
Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa. — SC website/File

  • Qasim Suri did not hold [voting] on the no-confidence motion: CJP.
  • Lashkari Raisani challenged Suri’s victory in 2018 elections.
  • Suri disqualification, re-election matter infructuous: counsel.

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa has observed why should not the apex court proceed against former National Assembly deputy speaker and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Qasim Suri for abrogating the Constitution.

“Qasim Suri did not hold [voting] on the no-confidence motion. He became the cause of the constitutional crisis in the country,” the CJP remarked while referring to the 2022 crisis related to the ouster of then-prime minister Imran Khan via parliamentary vote.

The CJP said it was suggested that Suri be tried under Article 6 for committing treason. “Then tell us, why we should not proceed against you on abrogation of Constitution?”

The CJP made these remarks during the hearing of a plea filed by Suri in 2019 against the election tribunal's decision to declare his election from NA-265 (Quetta- II) void on September 27, same year.

In October 2019, a three-member bench of the apex court headed by then Justice Umar Ata Bandial suspended the order of the election tribunal and restored the NA membership of Qasim Suri till the matter was decided by the court.

Baloch leader Lashkari Raisani had challenged the Suri’s victory from the Quetta’s constituency in the 2018 elections.

The matter has been lying pending before the apex court since then.

A three-member headed by the CJP took up the matter today (Tuesday).

During the hearing of the case, Suri’s counsel Naeem Bukhari told the bench that the matter of his client's disqualification and re-election in his constituency has now become infructuous.

At which, the counsel for Raisani said Suri served as the deputy speaker illegally and demanded that he should be asked to return the perks and privileges that he “enjoyed” during the stay period.

The CJP said the Balochistan High Court (BHC) tribunal had directed to re-conduct the elections in Suri’s NA-265 constituency.

Lawyer Bukhari said his client had stepped down as the National Assembly member.

“Then why did you file an appeal?” the CJP inquired.

Bukari replied that the Supreme Court suspended the tribunal’s decision in 2019

“How are you saying that the Supreme Court suspended the decision? You have asked for a stay order from the Supreme Court which was granted,” the CJP noted.

The top judge said if the apex court was “being used” in the past then he wanted to fix the mistake.

“If something went wrong, then the entire election of 2018 will be reviewed,” he added.

During the case’s hearing, the CJP also inquired about the dissolution of the National Assembly by President Alvi on the advice of then prime minister Imran Khan on April 3, 2022.

The CJP said the deputy speaker dissolved the assembly illegally and referred to the SC’s April 7, 2022 decision saying that a five-member bench recommended holding trial of Suri under Article 6 for committing high treason.

“Whoever violates the Constitution will have to face the consequences,” the CJP stated.

CJP Isa also resolved to end interference in the internal matters of the Supreme Court, saying “if the fixing of cases in the Supreme Court continues to be manipulated then the old matters will also be fixed”.

After Bukhari asked CJP if was angry with him or the system, CJP Isa said he was admitting that there had been manipulation in the Supreme Court.

“Qasim Suri should also admit his mistake,” the CJP remarked.

The SC adjourned the hearing of the case for a month and summoned Suri, Raisani and SC registrar in a personal capacity.