Pakistan’s Chief Justice takes notice of latest political situation

Pakistan’s Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial has taken notice of the latest political situation after a controversial ruling by the National Assembly deputy speaker to reject a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan and the subsequent dissolution of the lower house by the President, a court official said on Sunday.

Chief Justice Bandial arrived at the apex court, which was especially opened on a Sunday in light of the day’s unusual turn of events.

The top judge has taken suo motu notice of the current situation in the country, the spokesperson of the apex court said.

The joint Opposition has prepared a petition to cancel the ruling of Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri. The leaders of the joint opposition as well as the ruling party leaders also arrived at the apex court.

In a highly controversial move, Prime Minister Khan stunned the Opposition by recommending snap elections on Sunday, minutes after the no-confidence motion against him was dismissed by the deputy speaker.

Prime Minister Khan, who had effectively lost the majority in the 342-member National Assembly, made the announcement in a brief address to the nation.

Minutes later, President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly as per the advice of the prime minister.

No Pakistani prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term in office.

The opposition termed the entire process to reject no-confidence against the prime minister and dissolution of assembly against the constitution and its lawmakers refused to leave the premises of the parliament house.

“We are going to challenge the ruling by the deputy speaker and advice by the prime minister to dissolve parliament in the Supreme Court, said Shehbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the parliament.

Leading constitutional lawyer Salman Akram Raja said that the entire procure by the deputy speaker and the advice by the premier to dissolve the assembly was unconstitutional .

He said that the Supreme Court would decide the entire controversy. “The basic issue is determining the legality of the ruling by the deputy speaker. If the top court says that the ruling is according to laws, then the advice by the prime minister will also be as per law, he said.

Raja said the illegality of the ruling would also make the advice as illegal as the prime minister cannot give advice to the assembly after a no-confidence motion was presented in the parliament against him.

Ahsan Bhoon, President Supreme Court Bar, said that the action of the prime minister and deputy speaker was against the constitution and they should be prosecuted for treason under Article 6 of the constitution.”

Noted Indian lawyer and former minister Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that Prime Minister Khan’s move was “constitutionally wrong”.

“No dep spkr in any common law system has power 2dismiss no-confidence motion on natl sec! Simply no jurisdiction(2) sc likely 2strike down & direct fresh no-confidence immly (3) sc cji Umar Bandial, known 2me at Cambridge, Bats straight (4)dissolution by Imran also ctally impermissible since any #PM already a minority cannot dissolve & such advice not binding (5) cji #Bandial, with whom I hv not been in touch 4decades struck me as sober, balanced, knowledgeable & unruffled. So likely to strike down,” he tweeted, listing out some key points on the issues.

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