Pakistan’s top court restores parliament in big jolt to Prime Minister Khan
Islamabad, Apr 7 (EFE).- In a massive setback to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the country’s top court Thursday set aside the government’s move to block a no-trust vote and subsequent decision to dissolve the parliament ahead of its tenure in a decision that could end his rule.
The ruling by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri is “declared to be contrary to the constitution and the law and of no legal effect…and set aside,” the court said in its order.
The court said Prime Minister Khan “could not have” advised President Arif Alvi to dissolve the assembly.
“It is declared that the advice tendered by the prime minister to the president to dissolve the assembly was contrary to the constitution and of no legal effect.”
The top court wound up five days of hearing as the country plunged into a political crisis after deputy speaker Suri, a close ally of the prime minister, Sunday threw out the opposition no-confidence vote against the embattled government.
The five-member bench led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial restored the lower of the parliament and ordered the speaker to convene a session on Saturday morning for the no-confidence motion that is likely to unseat Khan.
The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf urged its supporters to “keep their spirits high and their emotions under control.”
“The next strategy of the captain (Khan) will come out soon.” the PTI tweeted.
The opposition celebrated the court verdict and said it restored faith in the constitution and the judiciary.
“It has restored the sanctity of the constitution of the country,” Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif told reporters.
Sharif said the country would celebrate Friday as the “day of gratitude.”
Prime Minister Khan dissolved the parliament on Sunday and called for early elections as the government appeared to have lost the majority after several lawmakers from the ruling PTI crossed over to join the opposition.
The opposition claims to have the backing of 197 members, more than 172 needed to oust the government in the 342-seat house.
Khan and his aides accused the opposition of plotting to topple his government at the behest of the United States.
But the Supreme Court took a suo moto cognizance of the case. The opposition also filed petitions to examine the legality of the move.
The opposition, which has joined hands to oust Khan, had termed the dismissal of the no-confidence motion as “the worst attack on parliament.”
The court decision has limited Khan’s options since he appears to have lost the majority in the house.
The prime minister is likely to step down or face a no-confidence vote that he may lose.
The parliament will elect a new prime minister if Khan loses the vote.
Khan, whose five-year term was due to end next year, has claimed that the no-confidence motion was part of a foreign conspiracy after his Russian visit on the day of the Ukraine invasion.