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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Opposition lawyer appeals for a larger bench

CJP Umar Ata Bandial said that "any orders and actions that Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi regarding the dissolution of the National Assembly shall be subject to the order of this court."

As the country’s political future hangs in the balance, the Supreme Court of Pakistan convened a session to hear the petition regarding the “unlawful” proceedings in the National Assembly on 03 April. The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, said on Monday that “the court would only be reviewing the proceedings of the national assembly “and added that it would issue a “reasonable order” on the legality of the situation.

Addressing the court, PTI representative Babar Awan said that “Imran Khan has advised me to inform the court that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is ready for next elections,” to which the Chief Justice replied that “you’re only giving a political statement, we are here only to review constitutional matters and we only have two petition and one suo Moto notice before us.”

During today’s hearing, the opposition was represented by Farooq H. Naek, who appealed before the court to form a larger bench to hear the case. The opposition’s lawyer argued that the matter was very sensitive and concerned complex matters, and therefore, a larger bench should listen to the case. The court, however, rejected his appeal, with Justice Bandial adding that forming a full-court bench would impede the proceedings of other cases.

Read more: Imran Khan to continue as prime minister under article 224

The Chief Justice also added that “If there is a lack of confidence in any of the judges, the bench will rise,” to which Naek responded that he had full confidence in the bench. The opposition’s lawyer also underlined that the speaker was bound by the constitution to call a National Assembly session in 14 days which he failed to do so.

Naek told the court that the requisition notice and no-confidence motion were submitted on March 8, and the speaker was bound to hold a session in the next 14 days but called the meeting on the 27th, to which Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail replied that “this is not your case, please refer to your case.”

Talking about the session in the National Assembly said that the parliamentary session merely lasted for three minutes, to which the Chief Justice responded; please refer to the constitutionality of the matter and refrain from making sentimental statements. The session has been adjourned till midday tomorrow (Tuesday).

Initially, the matter was taken up by a three-member bench consisting of CJP Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, but now a five-member bench consisting of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and the Chief Justice of Pakistan is listening to the case.

The Chief Justice took a suo moto notice regarding the “controversial” proceedings of the national assembly. The House was called on April 03 to hold a session for the vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister. The session was adjourned by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri shortly after the former minister for law and justice, Fawad Hussain, raised concerns over a regime change foreign conspiracy.

Minutes after, the Prime Minister came on television and notified the public that he had advised the President to dissolve the assemblies. Soon after his televised address, the decision was announced the President had accepted the advice, and the assemblies would stand dissolved.

Read more:  This is a war: Prime Minister Imran Khan

Following the dissolution of the National Assembly and dismissal of the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial took notice of the prevailing situation and ordered a suo moto notice.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said that “any orders and actions that Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi regarding the dissolution of the National Assembly shall be subject to the order of this court.”