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Thursday July 25, 2024

SCBA moves Supreme Court amid growing political crisis

By Sohail Khan
March 18, 2022
SCBA moves Supreme Court amid growing political crisis

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on Thursday requested the Supreme Court to direct all state functionaries as well as political stakeholders to act strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the law during the process of no confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly.

President Supreme Court Bar Association Ahsen Bhoon filed a petition in the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the Federation of Pakistan, through Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Leader of the Opposition, National Assembly of Pakistan, Speaker of the National Assembly, Secretary, National Assembly, Chief Commissioner, Islamabad Capital Territory, ICT, Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad and Inspector General of Police, Islamabad Capital Territory, as respondents.

He prayed the apex court to direct the respondents and/or their officials and/or anyone else acting on their instructions/orders charged with the duty to maintain law and order in the Islamabad Capital Territory to prevent any assembly, gathering, public meetings and/or procession, which can create any hindrance or has the effect of preventing the Members of the National Assembly from reaching the Parliament House and Parliament Lodges.

He further prayed the apex court to restrain the respondents and/or their officials and/or anyone else acting on their instructions/ orders from hindering or preventing or creating any obstacles to any Member of the National Assembly from attending the session of the National Assembly, as and when summoned.

Similarly, he prayed to restrain the Respondents and/or their officials and/or anyone else acting on their instructions/orders from taking any coercive measures/actions against and including, arrest and detention of the Members of the National Assembly.

The SCBA sought the direction of the apex court to Speaker of the National Assembly to discharge his duties, perform his functions and dispose of the proceedings on the motion for no-confidence against the prime minister strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.

The petitioner submitted that the requisite Members of the National Assembly have submitted a requisition on 08-03-2022 to summon the session of the National Assembly, besides submitting the no-confidence resolution against the Prime Minister.

"Since the submission of the requisition and no-confidence resolution, the political activities of both the treasury and opposition parties have intensified to an alarming level," the petitioner submitted adding that both sides are issuing threats to each other and the government has clearly indicated that it will use all means necessary to thwart any attempt by the treasury members, belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, to cast their vote.

He contended that the Respondents, including the opposition and the government, have not only expressed their intention to assemble in the vicinity of the Parliament, Presidency and this Court, but have also indicated that the assembly will restrict the Members of National Assembly from freely exercising their right to vote in the anticipated vote for no-confidence against the Prime Minister.

"In order to prevent the aforesaid violations from occurring, and to prevent the irreparable loss of life, liberty and property that is inevitable if the respondents are allowed to proceed with their unconstitutional and illegal intentions," the petitioner submitted.

He sought the intervention of the apex court in its constitutional jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and restrain the respondents from carrying out their illegal and unconstitutional intentions. The SCBA informed the apex court that the prime minister has announced holding a massive public meeting at D-Chowk on March 27, a day before the last day on which the session must mandatorily be summoned by the Speaker.

The petitioner quoted the reported address of the Prime Minister that a sea of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers would storm Islamabad a day before voting on the no-confidence resolution tabled by the opposition in the National Assembly against him.

Similarly, he also mentioned in the petition statement of Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry who had stated that PTI Jalsa would take place at D-Chowk in Islamabad and warned that members have to cross the Jalsa to go to National Assembly to cast votes.

Similarly, the petitioner submitted that major opposition parties have also directed their workers to reach Islamabad before 27-03-2022, the date announced by the Prime Minister for the public meeting at D-Chowk.

He quoted the reported announcement of PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman wherein he had said their workers in large number will start arriving from the nook and corner of the country and will stay on the Constitution Avenue till voting on the no-trust resolution and will provide safe passage to members to the Parliament House.

Similarly, the SCBA also mentioned a news item of PMLN quoting party sources that it has directed all the party leaders, MNAs, MPAs, ticket holders and district heads to start mobilising workers and supporters to reach Jati Umra and Model Town in Lahore to accompany the caravan led by Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz.

He further submitted that the PMLN leadership has intensified its preparations for the upcoming event, adding that the workers of adjoining areas of Islamabad and other cities had been directed to reach the D-Chowk a day before the scheduled public meeting.

The petitioner submitted that the aforementioned position taken by the major political parties is likely to contribute to the ensuing chaos adding that it is in the spirit of democracy and democratic principles embedded in our Constitution that the party(ies) having confidence of the majority should be entitled to form the government.

"Therefore, any attempt to undermine the said process, either by the treasury or the opposition, goes against the very spirit of the Constitution and democracy," the petitioner submitted. He contended that these facts and circumstances are fast likely to trigger an anarchic situation, which may not remain within the control of the two sides adding that it is evident from the political history of our country that preventing the constitutional process from taking its course has produced dire consequence for democracy and rule of law.

He submitted that the actions/omissions, restriction on the part of the Respondents to interference with the anticipated vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister violates the rights of the citizens, as well as the Members of National Assembly, guaranteed under Article 17 of the Constitution.