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Pak Supreme Court to resume hearing on dismissal of no-trust vote against PM, dissolution of Parliament

Pak Supreme Court to resume hearing on dismissal of no-trust vote against PM, dissolution of Parliament

Islamabad: Pakistan's Supreme Court will resume the hearing on Tuesday on the dismissal of a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan and the dissolution of Parliament by the President on the advice of the embattled premier, a day after adjourning the proceedings after promising to give a "reasonable order" in the high-profile case.

The apex court had taken a suo motu cognizance of the current political situation in the country.

President Arif Alvi had dissolved the National Assembly (NA) on the advice of Prime Minister Khan, minutes after Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri rejected a no-confidence motion against the premier, who had effectively lost the majority in the 342-member lower house of Parliament on Sunday.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that all orders and actions initiated by the prime minister and the president regarding the dissolution of the National Assembly will be subject to the court's order.

On Monday, a larger bench of the apex court - comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail - took up the matter after Deputy Speaker Suri rejected the move to dislodge the prime minister by declaring the no-trust motion unmaintainable due to its link with a so-called foreign conspiracy.

President Alvi, the Supreme Court Bar Association and all political parties have been made respondents in the case.

Lawyers from the government and opposition presented their argument regarding the ruling by the deputy speaker.

During the arguments, Chief Justice Bandial said that even if the Speaker of the National Assembly cites Article 5 of the Constitution, the no-confidence motion cannot be rejected, Geo News reported.

If Khan gets a favourable ruling, elections will take place within 90 days. If the court rules against the deputy speaker, the parliament will reconvene and hold the no-confidence vote against Khan, experts said.

Chief Justice Bandial had earlier in the day said the court would issue a "reasonable order" on the issue on Monday.

During the proceedings, Justice Ahsan noted that there were violations in the proceedings of the no-trust resolution, Dawn reported.

Justice Bandial observed that a debate before voting on the no-confidence motion had been clearly mentioned in the law but didn't take place.

Meanwhile, Justice Akhtar expressed dubiousness over the deputy speaker's constitutional authority to pass such a ruling, the paper said.

"In my opinion," he said, "only the speaker had the right to pass the ruling. "The deputy speaker chairs the session on the non-availability of the speaker."

Justice Bandial also observed that the deputy speaker's ruling mentioned the meeting of the parliamentary committee for security. "The opposition deliberately didn't attend the meeting," he said.

Farooq H Naek, who was representing the joint opposition, pleaded with the court to issue a verdict on the matter on Monday.

But Justice Ahsan said it was impossible to pass the verdict on Monday, adding that the apex court's decision will have far reaching outcomes.

"We can't pass a decision in the air," Justice Bandial said, adjourning the hearing till 12pm on Tuesday.

He also rejected the opposition's plea for a full bench.

"The court will hear all representatives of the parties before concluding the hearing," the chief justice said during the hearing.

The decision of the court would also determine the legality of the presidential order to dissolve the National Assembly.

However, opposition parties rejected both the ruling of deputy speaker and dissolution of the parliament, and not only challenged it in the court but also fought tooth and nail outside the Supreme Court.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shehbaz Sharif at a press conference accused Prime Minister Khan of violating the constitution and imposing a civil-martial law in the country.

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