Acting on the orders of Supreme Court, the National Assembly will vote on opposition’s no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday (today).
The Supreme Court had on Thursday ordered the restoration of the government and National Assembly that was dissolved by President Arif Alvi on the advice of Prime Minister Imran after declaring Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s ruling contrary to Constitution. The deputy speaker rejected the motion as “unconstitutional” and a “foreign conspiracy”.
The apex court’s directives came after Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial took suo motu notice of the deputy speaker’s ruling and the subsequent dissolution of the assembly, declaring all the decisions unconstitutional.
As per the order of the Supreme Court voting is to be held at all costs on April 9 (today) and in case the PM is voted out, the election of a new Leader of the House will be held during the same session. The voting on the no-confidence motion is at the fourth position in the six-point agenda issued for today.
Speaker Asad Qaiser could not take up agenda other than voting on the motion and if he did not do so, he would have to face contempt of court proceedings.
It may be recalled that the opposition has submitted the no-confidence motions against the speaker and deputy speaker, however, the former can conduct today’s session according to the rules.
The National Assembly officials, the apex court has bound the speaker to proceed with the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan as per the April 3 agenda of the National Assembly.
They said that the voting on the no-trust motion could take place within seven days of its submission and last Sunday (April 3) was the last day of voting, so apex court’s larger bench ordered the speaker to revive the April 3 agenda of the National Assembly and conduct voting on the no-confidence motion. Therefore, today (April 9) will be considered the last (seventh) day of voting on the no-confidence motion and it is essential to move with the set agenda.
They said that it is written in the para 10 of the order if no trust motion succeeds, the NA speaker will make sure to elect the Leader of the House as per Article 91 of the Constitution and Article 32 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly.
The officials said if the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan succeeds, the National Assembly session will be prorogued till Sunday for the election of the new Leader of the House and the National Assembly Secretariat would begin with its necessary documentation.
The NA Secretariat has prepared forms for the nomination of the new Leader of the House and those forms would be issued as soon as the session is prorogued and scrutiny of the nomination forms will be completed till night and the list of the candidates for PM’s slot will be issued at night and after that, the National Assembly will elect new prime minister on Sunday.
Replying to a question that the government wants to hold a debate on the issue of the letter, the officials said it was impossible. They said the government will have to submit a separate resolution in the NA Secretariat for the debate on the letter and briefing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs secretary to the House and will have to seek the permission of the House if the House should be converted into a standing committee. The Opposition enjoys its majority in the House, so it can reject this resolution.
When asked if the government tried to get the voting on the no-trust motion delayed for a day or a week, they said that in this situation, the NA Speaker would violate SC’s order and should get ready to face five-year disqualification and contempt of court.
GOVT STRATESGY: On the other hand, the ruling party has prepared its strategy to scuttle the proceedings and delay the voting by allowing MPs lengthy speeches on the ‘foreign conspiracy”.
The same was endorsed by Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry.
He said that the foreign secretary is going to brief the House on the “threat letter”, so the voting on no-confidence may not happen and may be deferred till next week.