Govt hails SC's reasons for setting aside Qasim Suri's controversial ruling; PTI highlights 'contradictions'

Published July 14, 2022
Federal minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, PM Shehbaz Sharif and PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry — DawnNewsTV
Federal minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, PM Shehbaz Sharif and PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry — DawnNewsTV

The government on Thursday hailed the Supreme Court's detailed judgment that explained why it had set aside former National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri's controversial ruling on the no-trust move against the then prime minister Imran Khan, while the PTI termed it to be "full of contradictions".

The verdict, authored by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, stated that Suri had breached his constitutional duty by dismissing the no-confidence motion.

The top judge said the April 3 ruling failed to qualify for protection of the internal proceedings of parliament under Article 69(1) as it was “not the outcome of a vote in the national assembly instead, it was a unilateral decision”. The law states: "The validity of any proceedings in Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament) shall not be called in question on the ground of any irregularity of procedure."

Justice Bandial also observed that the controversial action by the deputy speaker triggered a chain of events, the most concerning aspect of which was that it allowed the then PM to claim the constitutionally repugnant outcome of avoiding the no-trust motion without a vote by the assembly.

Welcoming the apex court's detailed verdict, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said it had exposed the "lies and propaganda" of the PTI chief and his government.

"Utterly shameful how Imran Khan tried to undermine the Constitution and manufactured the lie of regime change," he said, adding that the judgment was a "must read" for everyone.

Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar also endorsed the verdict and said that it would serve as an example in the future.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside PM's Adviser on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira, the minister said that the court had proven once again that it would always uphold the Constitution and protect the people's mandate.

PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira and Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar hold a press conference on Thursday. — *DawnNewsTV*
PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira and Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar hold a press conference on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

"The SC has declared that the deputy speaker's ruling was unconstitutional and undemocratic," he said. He also pointed out that the verdict stated the "ruling was based on ill-intention".

He said that the apex court had clarified that Pakistan was at a critical juncture where it would need to make decisions to stop such practices from taking place in the future. "And it has now given the government and parliament the responsibility to take suitable measures to prevent such a situation."

The minister claimed that the detailed verdict was the "final nail in the coffin" of Imran's foreign conspiracy narrative as the cypher, which Suri used to dismiss the no-trust vote, was never shown to the court and was also not discussed in parliament.

"If the matter was as grave as Imran portrayed it to be, why didn't he bring the document to parliament? What did he take it with himself to rallies and wave it at the public?" he contended.

"With all of this and the SC's judgment, all the political parties in the country have come to the conclusion that the so-called narrative was brought to illegally stop the no-confidence vote," Tarar said.

Meanwhile, Kaira said that everything that happened on April 3 was a "conspiracy against the institutions and the Constitution" of Pakistan.

"We have said this time and again: Imran Khan is a fascist man whose party is bent on spreading hatred and polarisation in the country."

Imran, he claimed, only wanted to work with people who agreed with what he said while all those who disagreed were termed a "traitor".

President Alvi must step down: Sanaullah

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said President Arif Alvi must step down from his position after the apex court verdict.

"The federal government is authorised to send a reference under Article 6 over constitutional violation and proceedings on it have already begun," Sanaullah said while addressing a separate press conference in Islamabad later in the day.

Sanaullah said the "punishment" for the offence was mentioned in Article 5 and 6 of the Constitution, adding that there was no reason to not take action in this regard.

The minister said the speaker was now bound to prepare a disqualification reference against those who violated the Constitution and send it to the Election Commission of Pakistan. "The ECP then must de-seat those lawmakers."

"The SC decision is clear and final and if someone wants to criticise the decision, it should be within the limits of respect," he added.

To a question whether Imran could be arrested in days to come, Sanaullah said the cabinet must take a decision on it and then "the government departments will act according to it."

Resolution against President Alvi submitted in Senate

Later in the day, PML-N Senator Dr Afnanullah Khan submitted a resolution in the Upper House of the parliament, urging the government to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Alvi.

"The Supreme Court of Pakistan in its recent historic detailed judgment outlines that Imran Khan, Arif Alvi, Qasim Suri and Fawad Chaudhry blatantly transgressed the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan when they didn't allow the voting on the no-confidence motion," the resolution, a copy which is available with Dawn.com, reads.

It added that there must be "severe consequences for this blatant transgression and the law must take its course". Therefore, the Senate should immediately initiate Article 6 proceedings against ex-PM Imran Khan, President Alvi, former deputy speaker Qasim Suri and ex-information minister Fawad Chaudhry, the resolution added.

Fawad says verdict 'full of contradictions'

Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the apex court had given good decisions in the past but termed the judgement on Suri's ruling to be "full of contradictions".

Addressing a press conference in Lahore, he demanded an investigation into the cypher and said that after an "elected assembly" was instituted, the judgment would be presented and eventually quashed.

He termed the current legislative body as an "occupied parliament" that lacked representation from "Pakistan's biggest political party".

"But when an elected assembly comes, and the PTI comes [to power] with a two-thirds majority, we will get this judgment quashed by the assembly. This judgment will be presented in parliament and it will be decided whether Article 6 (which pertains to treason) applies to a violation of Article 69," Chaudhry said.

Article 69 of the Constitution states that courts are not to inquire into proceedings of parliament.

He urged the judges to practice caution and respect the mandate of "Pakistan's biggest political power" and to let "political decisions be taken in the political arena".

Commenting on Justice Mazahar Alam Khan Miankhel's additional note, he said: "I want to tell the judge that if you start [punishing] people under Article 6, there will be a shortage of rope. There are too many necks [to hang].

"It is not your job to instill acrimony in political matters unless you are on a mission to do so," Chaudhry commented. He added that otherwise, "we will have to tell what has happened and how it happened."

Without elaborating on this remark, Chaudhry called on the judges to "show restraint".

He further said the military establishment had been making "political decisions". "Unfortunately, this is Pakistan's history," he said, adding that this, however, would change.

"After such a big media revolution, this cannot continue. People will have to be given the right to decide. Judges and generals cannot continue to take decisions behind closed doors," he said, adding that the nation was "ready for a revolution".

Chaudhry said that President Arif Alvi had already sent a letter requesting the formation of a commission to investigate the cypher. "But there has been no reply as yet," he regretted.

He further referred to former US national security adviser John Bolton admitting during an interview with CNN that US had been carrying out foreign coups. "But our Supreme Court is not ready to acknowledge this," Fawad said, adding that "we are presenting the material but you are not ready to see it".

"On the other hand, you give a judgement saying that it was not presented. So, you either see the material and decide on its basis or you don't see it and make a political decision."

The PTI leader also took exception to the timing of the detailed judgement, saying that by-polls in Punjab were just two days away. "You held it for four months, could have held it for two more days. But it's up to you."

Chaudhry demanded that the cypher be investigated, claiming that the it had been delivered to the CJP in a sealed envelope. "But the SC wrote in its judgement that the cypher was not presented. The judges should ask the CJP why was it not shared."

During the press conference, a reporter pointed out that when the PML-N used to issue statements against judges, institutions and the army during the PTI's tenure, they were called "traitors". "But the PTI is doing the same today," the reporter said.

Chaudhry replied by saying that no country could run without judges and generals. "The establishment is a country's backbone. A country cannot run without it," he said, adding that he was neither talking about the judges nor the generals.

"You talk about issues, you criticise issues."

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