The dismissal of the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan was “unconstitutional” the Pakistan Supreme Court said today. The court said the national assembly stands reconstituted and the Speaker has been ordered to call a session. The court has also ruled out a review petition. The no confidence vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan will now be held on Saturday.
If Mr Khan loses, he will be the first Prime Minister to be removed through a no-trust vote. Two other Prime Ministers against whom a no-confidence motion was called, had resigned before the vote, but Mr Khan had refused to step down, insisting that he would “play till the last ball”.
On Sunday, the no-trust motion against Imran Khan’s government was dismissed by the Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, who called it against the Constitution and rules of Pakistan.
Minutes later, Mr Khan had called for fresh elections and advised the President for the dissolution of Assembly. The fresh election was be held within 90 days.
Terming the move “unconstitutional”, the Opposition parties had challenged the Speaker’s decision in the Supreme Court.
Under Article 58 of Pakistan’s Constitution, the National Assembly cannot be dissolved if there is a no-confidence motion against the government.
But in an exclusive interview to NDTV, Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry, known to be the right hand of Imran Khan, had said the no confidence motion was dismissed before the Prime Minister suggested dissolution of the assembly to the President and announced elections.
Mr Khan, he added, “was within his rights to advise the President for dissolution (of assembly)”.
After the Supreme Court’s decision today, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), tweeted, “Democracy is the best revenge! Jiya Bhutto! Jiya Awam! Pakistan Zindabad”.
Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party effectively lost majority in the 342-member assembly last week when a key coalition partner said its seven lawmakers would vote with the opposition. More than a dozen lawmakers from the ruling party also indicated that they would cross the floor.
Mr Khan had claimed that it was a “conspiracy” against his government which was engineered by the US. The opposition, he alleged, was conspiring with Washington to remove him because he would not take the side of the US and Europe on global issues against Russia and China. His party claimed that the legislators who planned to change sides had been bribed.