Speaker faces no-trust motion

Published October 15, 2004

ISLAMABAD, Oct 14: The opposition on Thursday submitted a no-confidence motion against National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain minutes before the assembly passed a government bill allowing President Pervez Musharraf to continue to hold the post of army chief beyond December 31, 2004.

In a rare show of unity, 107 opposition members belonging to the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) and the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) signed the motion against the speaker for his alleged partial attitude during assembly proceedings.

After handing over the motion to the National Assembly secretary Mahmood Salim Mahmood, the opposition demanded that the speaker should not preside over the session and said that if he continued the chair, the assembly proceedings would be "illegal and unconstitutional".

However, the speaker went ahead with the proceedings for a few more minutes and announced the adoption of the bill. The motion is likely to be placed before the house on October 22 as according to rules "the session is called after expiry of seven days from the date of the receipt of the motion" and should be included in the "orders of the day" on the first working day.

This is the second time that Chaudhry Amir Hussain is facing a no-confidence motion. In June last year, the opposition sought his removal after his ruling that the Legal Framework Order (LFO) was a part of the constitution when political negotiations were being held on the 17th Amendment.

The opposition had accused the speaker of "transgressing his authority by giving a ruling on the constitution and thereby undermining the sovereignty of the house which was beyond his purview regarding the LFO's status vis-a-vis the constitution". That motion, however, fell through as opposition members boycotted the voting after taking part in the debate.

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