NA resolution asks president to act in non-partisan manner

Published May 12, 2022
The National Assembly on Wednesday finally approved a resolution with a majority vote taking “strong exception to the unconstitutional stance” of President Dr Arif Alvi over Punjab governor's removal. —Twitter/NA
The National Assembly on Wednesday finally approved a resolution with a majority vote taking “strong exception to the unconstitutional stance” of President Dr Arif Alvi over Punjab governor's removal. —Twitter/NA

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday finally approved a resolution with a majority vote taking “strong exception to the unconstitutional stance” of President Dr Arif Alvi over the issue of Punjab governor’s removal and asked him to act in a non-partisan manner.

The resolution, read out by independent MNA from the erstwhile tribal areas Mohsin Dawar, was passed by the house with a voice vote after Ghaus Bux Mahar and Dr Fehmida Mirza of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) forcefully opposed the government’s move, terming it unnecessary and an effort to make the office of the president controversial.

At one point, Dr Mirza also threatened to disrupt the proceedings of the house by pointing lack of quorum like they did on Monday, if the government insisted on getting this resolution passed.

During the previous sitting, the assembly had failed to get the same resolution passed when a GDA member pointed out lack of quorum.

Grand Democratic Alliance opposes govt move, terms it unnecessary

However, both the GDA members remai­ned seated and shouted “no” when Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf put the resolution to vote after Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf and Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar supported the resolution and termed it in line with the Constitution.

“This House takes strong exception to the unconstitutional stance taken by the president and (his) refusal to adhere to implement the Constitution in letter and spirit and to follow the norms of parliamentary democracy,” the resolution said.

“This House calls upon the president to act in a non-partisan manner and perform his functions strictly in accordance with Article 48 of the Constitution,” said Mr Dawar, while reading out the resolution after lambasting President Alvi for refusing the summary sent to him by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the removal of Punjab Governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema.

“This House resolves that under the Constitution... obedience to the Constitution and law is the inviolable obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan.

“According to oath of the office of president, the president will not allow his personal interest to influence his official conduct or his official decisions. He is also bound to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” the resolution further said.

Earlier, while opposing the resolution, Mr Mahar referred to Article 48 of the Constitution, saying that it was president’s discretion to make a decision on the advice of the prime minister. He was of the view that the Constitution had not provided any mechanism for removal of a governor and, therefore, the president was justified in his act of refusing the summary for removal of the Punjab governor.

Dr Fehmida Mirza, who attended the sitting despite announcing on Monday that she would boycott the proceedings if the speaker did not nominate the opposition leader, expressed her reservations over the Supreme Court’s judgement declaring Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s ruling unconstitutional.

“In my viewpoint, no institution can challenge the ruling of the speaker,” she said without naming the Supreme Court.

Dr Mirza, who was given the floor by Mr Ashraf on many occasions and whenever she desired through the proceedings, also criticised the dissidents of the PTI and termed their action of not supporting former prime minister Imran Khan during the vote of no confidence a violation of the Constitution.

The former speaker, however, faced wrath of PTI dissidents Raja Riaz and Javeria Zafar for the use of word “Lotas” (turncoats) for them.

The two PTI dissidents hit out at Imran Khan and termed him the biggest turncoat, stating that when there was a time for him to play the role of the opposition, he had run away from the parliament.

The attorney general said that Mr Mahar was wrongly interpreting the Article 48 of the Constitution, stating that SC had already interpreted it by stating that “the pleasure of the president” meant the pleasure of the federal government or the prime minister.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2022

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