'Legal minefield awaits opposition after no-confidence'

Opposition will have to deal with constitutional nuts and bolts, including discretionary powers granted to NA speaker

Hasnaat Malik April 01, 2022
Joint opposition and BAP members addressing a news conference in Islamabad on March 28. SCREENGRAB


The opposition may have secured for itself a favourable spot in the National Assembly as the race to 172 nears the final stretch. But there is little chance that political uncertainty will, too, end with the conclusion of the no-confidence vote. The political battle may well head towards a legal minefield.

According to Article 94 of the Constitution, the president is entitled to ask the prime minister to continue to hold office until his successor enters office. Taking to its logical conclusion in the current scenario, PM Imran Khan will continue occupying the office until his successor enters.

Moreover, a cabinet member revealed to The Express Tribune that although the joint opposition moved a resolution for no-confidence against PM Khan as well as the election of his successor in the National Assembly, the NA Speaker has the authority vested in him to adjourn the session after completing the process of no-confidence motion on Sunday for an indefinite period.

Also read: No-confidence vote on Sunday, which will decide our nation's destiny: PM

For the election of a new leader of the house, the speaker may again summon the session in view of Article 54 of the Constitution, which says that the custodian of the house may summon a session within 14 days, the source explained.

He said that the Supreme Court has already held that they are not interested to intervene in internal proceedings of the parliament. Therefore, he added, the NA speaker has immense discretionary powers to conduct the proceedings.

Meanwhile, legal team members of opposition parties have also expressed serious apprehensions over the conduct of NA Speaker Asad Qaiser for his partisan handling of proceedings and continuous violation of rules.

“Keeping in view the dubious role of Speaker NA, I had suggested to the opposition leadership to move a no-confidence motion against Asad Qaiser first,” a legal mind of the opposition party said. He said that Asad Qaiser was misusing his authority by delaying the process.

Also read: Pakistan lodges protest with US over ‘threatening memo’

The lawyer further said that President Arif Alvi is also providing grounds for his impeachment by delaying the process.

However, senior lawyers are of the opinion that after losing the majority in the National Assembly, PM Khan should graciously step down in the national interest as the political instability is also severally affecting the country's economy.

Meanwhile, PTI has issued a show-cause notice to disgruntled MNAs in violation of Article 63A (1)(a) of the Constitution. Under this provision, a lawmaker could be de seated by joining another parliamentary party. PTI lawyers believe that disgruntled members' meetings with opposition parties leaders are enough to prove that they violated Article 63A (1) (a) of the Constitution.

However senior lawyers that defection could not be proved by attending meetings with opposition parties.


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