No-confidence vote: Opp hopes for apex court’s impartiality

NA speaker, govt slammed for not moving ahead with no-trust motion in time

Rizwan Shehzad   March 21, 2022
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari alongside PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and other opposition leaders is addressing the media. PHOTO: PPP MEDIA CELL


Opposition parties on Monday hoped that the judiciary would take side of the law and democracy, and not of any particular party while regretting that the speaker of the National Assembly (NA) “violated” the constitution by not moving ahead in time with the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, BNP-M Chairman Akhtar Mengal, PML-N Senator Azam Nazir Tarar and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Ahsan Bhoon regretted NA Speaker Asad Qaiser’s conduct over calling the session on no-trust motion against the premier.

Shehbaz said the opposition parties’ plea before the Supreme Court (SC) was that the speaker has violated the constitution by not convening the assembly session within 14 days’ time period. The speaker has deviated from the constitution, the opposition leader said, adding that he called the session after the time period prescribed in the law.

Shehbaz said that the opposition delayed its long march, specifically, for the OIC moot, but questioned the speaker’s decision of not calling the session before March 22 as the motion of no-trust was filed against the premier on March 8 and there was sufficient time to convene the session withing the prescribed time limit.

“Speaker has deliberately not called the session and tried to trap the opposition parties regarding OIC session [just] to give government an upper hand,” Shehbaz said, saying that the opposition has utmost respect for the foreign delegations coming to attend the conference. “But the speaker has breached the constitution under the garb of the OIC,” he said while restricting himself not to say more as the matter was pending before the court.

While briefly commenting on the court proceedings, the opposition leader said that the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) has not only agreed with all the prayers but endorsed them as well, hoping that the AGP would honor the commitments made before the apex court.

In his talk, Bilawal said that “the government and the speaker violated the constitution.” Talking to the media outside the apex court, the PPP chief said that “the opposition hopes that the judiciary will take the side of the constitution, law and democracy, and not any particular party.”

The PPP leader said that the political parties did not approach the court but the bar councils, saying that PPP was thankful to the chief justice for taking notice of the attack on the Sindh House and calling all the parties to present their viewpoint.

Also read: CJP against 'any restriction, interference' in no-confidence vote

“We have to politically struggle in the parliament and the constitutional and legal struggle will be in the courts,” Bilawal said, adding that “this government is running away from the no-confidence motion, so much so that it has resorted to violating the constitution”.

Emphasising that every member of the assembly has the right to vote, he said that “the government is trying to push the speaker towards Article 6”. The government first attacked the Parliament Lodges and arrested the members of the lower house, he recalled, then they attacked the Sindh House when the members went there for protection.

“The attack on Sindh House is an attack on the federation and democracy,” Bilawal said, adding that the government resorted to spreading terror.

Azam Nazir Tarar, while briefing the media about court proceedings, said that the AGP has given an assurance to the top court that no MNA would be stopped from attending the assembly session as opposed to the government’s earlier announcement that one million people would be gathered outside the parliament and the lawmakers would have to face them when they go in and come out of the house.

Tarar, who was once not acceptable to PPP as Senate’s opposition leader on grounds that he had represented two accused standing trial in the ex-PM Benazir Bhutto’s murder case, stood between Shehbaz and Bilawal to brief about the proceedings, saying the second assurance was that no MNA would be stopped from casting vote.

Thirdly, he said, the reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A was important for the futuristic point of view and no party would seek stay in the case. Fourthly, Tarar said, the court observed that the rules of the assembly and the constitution were clear and speaker would not do anything going against the law and the constitution, which is why the court has kept the SCBA’s petition in this regard pending.

On the attack on Sindh House, Tarar said, the court has directed capital’s IGP to take statement of the government of Sindh and make it a part of the FIR and investigate the incident accordingly.

The SCBA president said that the SCBA’s plea before the court is that there should be supremacy of the rule of law and the constitution in the country and no institution should be allowed to abrogate the constitution. He said that the speaker should behave strictly in accordance with the law and the constitution.

Referring to military dictators’ violating the constitution, Bhoon regretted that the speaker has now declared Article 54 and 95 “redundant” just to support a political party.

BNP’s Mengal lauded the SCBA for coming forward to protect the constitution, lamenting that it was the responsibility of the incumbent government in the first place. He hoped that the court would take decision as per the law and the constitution.





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