The session was adjourned as the opposition parties continued to chant slogans, pressing for the taking up of the no-confidence motion, while Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was speaking in the National Assembly, local media reported. In an apparent move seen as part of the strategy of the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) to delay the proceedings, Pakistan National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, while chairing the Saturday session to take up the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government, said that the House should also hold a discussion on the issue of “international conspiracy.”
The Speaker’s suggestion was met with strong protest by the Opposition MPs, who asked the Chair to stick to the mandate of the session spelt out by the Supreme Court.
Urging the Speaker to carry out the proceedings of the House according to the norms of the Constitution, Shahbaz Sharif, Leader of Opposition in Pakistan National Assembly, stated, “I hope you (Speaker) will carry out today’s proceedings of the House as per the Supreme Court order. I urge you to stand for the Constitution and law. You must catch this moment with your conviction.”
During the session, Foreign Minister and PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi made it clear that it is the duty of the government to defend the no-confidence motion. “It is the Constitutional right of the Opposition to move a no-confidence motion against the government, and it’s the government’s duty to defend it,” he added.
Proceedings of the Pakistan National Assembly session with the specific mandate to take up the no-confidence motion against the Imran Khan-led government and the election of the new leader of the House got underway on Saturday.
Heavy security has been deployed outside the Pakistan National Assembly in Islamabad.
Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, and other MNAs are attending the session of the National Assembly, reported Geo News.
The Supreme Court had on Thursday ordered the incumbent government to face the no-confidence motion on Saturday. The court had turned down the ruling of the Deputy Speaker to reject the no-confidence motion.
The top court’s directives came after Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial took suo motu cognisance of Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s ruling and the subsequent dissolution of the National Assembly, declaring all the decisions unconstitutional.
As per the order of the Supreme Court, voting is to be held at all costs today and in case the PM is voted out, the election of a new Leader of the House will be held during the same session.
The voting on the no-confidence motion is at the fourth position in the six-point agenda issued for today.
Speaker Asad Qaiser can not take up agenda other than voting on the motion, and if he did not do so, he would have to face contempt of court proceedings, reported Geo News.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Opposition has submitted the no-confidence motions against the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. However, Asad Qaiser can chair today’s session according to the rules.
The National Assembly officials told Geo News that according to the SC larger bench’s written order, the NA Speaker has been made duty-bound to proceed with the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government as per the April 3 agenda of the House.
The NA officials said that the voting on the no-trust motion could take place within seven days of its submission and last Sunday (April 3) was the last day of voting. So, SC’s larger bench ordered the Speaker to revive the April 3 agenda of the National Assembly and conduct voting on the no-confidence motion, they added. Therefore, today (April 9) will be considered the last day (seventh day) of voting on the no-confidence motion and it is essential to move with the set agenda, reported Geo News.
The NA officials said if the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan succeeds, the National Assembly session will be extended till Sunday to complete the process for the election of the new Leader of the House while the Secretariat will undertake the necessary documentation.
When asked if the government tried to get the voting on the no-trust motion delayed for a day or a week, the NA official said that in this situation, the NA Speaker would violate SC’s larger bench order and should get ready to face a five-year disqualification and contempt of court.
Despite Imran Khan-led PTI government’s hectic efforts to avoid voting on the no-confidence motion, the National Assembly will decide the fate of the premier today.
Meanwhile, the ruling party has prepared its strategy to scuttle the proceedings and delay the voting by asking its MPs to give lengthy speeches on the ‘foreign conspiracy”, reported Geo News.
The same was endorsed by Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chauhdry.
Talking to Geo News, he said that the foreign secretary is going to brief the House on the “threat letter”, so the voting on no-confidence may not happen and maybe deferred till next week. (ANI)
first published:April 9, 2022, 4:07 p.m.