What will happen on Saturday

Published April 8, 2022
This file photo shows the National Assembly in session. — Photo courtesy: NA Twitter
This file photo shows the National Assembly in session. — Photo courtesy: NA Twitter

ISLAMABAD: With the Supreme Court overruling the rejection of the opposition’s no-trust motion against the prime minister, the National Assembly speaker is bound by the apex court’s verdict to call a session of the lower house of parliament tomorrow (Saturday) “not later than 10:30am”, in line with the agenda issued earlier for April 3.

“The speaker is under duty to summon and hold a sitting of the assembly in the present session, and shall do immediately and in any case no later than 10:30 am on Saturday, to conduct the business of the house as per the order of the day that had been issued for 03.04.2022 and in terms as stated in, and required by, Article 95 of the Constitution read with rule 37 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly Rules-2007,” read Para 9 of the Supreme Court’s order issued on Thursday.

It is likely that the National Assembly’s Secretariat will be issuing the order of the day for Saturday’s session today (Friday).

The sitting won’t be prorogued until the motion is disposed of or, if leave is granted, voted upon.

The opposition had submitted the no-trust resolution against the prime minister to the National Assembly’s Secretariat on March 7, while the speaker had tabled it in the house on March 25. Under the rules, he was bound to put the resolution to vote by April 3.The order of the day for April 3 consisted of six points, including voting on the resolution.

Item 4 of the April 3 National Assembly agenda read: “Voting on the following resolution moved by Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition on 28th March, 2022:- “Through this Resolution under clause (1) of Article 95 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, this House resolves that it has no-confidence in the Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan, and consequently he should cease to hold office under clause (4) ibid.”

Interestingly, when Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Suri had prorogued the session on April 3, the opposition held the session on its own, elected PML-N MNA and Ayaz Sadiq the speaker and got the no-trust resolution passed by 197 votes. The treasury benches totaled 144.

Experts insist though a no-trust motion has been moved against Speaker Asad Qaisar, he could preside over the house on Saturday.

They refer to Article 53 (4) of the Constitution, which reads: “The Speaker or the Deputy Speaker shall not preside at a meeting of the Assembly when a resolution for his removal from office is being considered.”

In their opinion, the rules only bar Asad Qaiser from presiding over a session where the no-trust against him is being considered, and he would be able to chair Saturday’s proceedings.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2022

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