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QUETTA, Dec 31: A division bench of the Balochistan High Court (BHC) dismissed on Monday a constitutional petition filed by former provincial assembly speaker Mohammad Aslam Bhootani against his removal and the procedure adopted for a no-confidence motion against him.

Advocates Baz Mohammad Kakar and Hadi Shakeel appeared before the bench comprising Justice Jamal Mandokhel and Justice Noor Mohammad Muskanzai on behalf of Mr Bhootani, Advocate Sardar Latif Khosa and Advocate General Amanullah Kanrani appeared for Deputy Speaker Syed Matiullah Agha and the provincial government.

Mr Khosa said the bench could not hear the petition because it had not taken the oath after BHC Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa went abroad.

The bench rejected the objection and observed that senior judges were empowered to hear cases.

The petitioner’s counsel said polling for election of the speaker and deputy speaker should be stopped until the court gave its verdict on the petition, but the court allowed the voting after the advocate general pleaded that it was a democratic process that should continue.

Mr Kanrani contended that the election of new speaker and deputy speaker shall be null and void if the court issued a stay order or an order against it.

Mr Kakar said his client had filed the petition against an unconstitutional and illegal procedure adopted in moving and balloting on the no-confidence motion in violation of the rules of business and procedures of the assembly and not to get himself reinstated.

He said Mr Bhootani had not attended the assembly session in accordance with Article 109 of the Constitution because in his view its summoning by the government was unconstitutional and illegal after an interim order issued by the Supreme Court regarding the Balochistan government.

Mr Shakeel said that under the rules balloting on a no-confidence motion against the speaker should be secret but lawmakers had violated them by showing their stamped ballots to government officials.

Justice Mandokhel said the speaker could send a reference to the Election Commission about violation of rules and procedures.

The court reserved its verdict after hearing the arguments and later dismissed the petition, observing that the way adopted by the members of the Balochistan Assembly while moving and voting on the no-trust motion against Mr Bhootani was constitutional and legal