Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the apex court’s April 7 decision on the ruling of the then National Assembly speaker on the crucial vote of no-confidence.
In a major blow to Khan, the Supreme Court had struck down then National Assembly Speaker Qasim Suri’s controversial move to dismiss a no-confidence motion against the cricketer-turned-politician.
Suri, who is associated with Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, on April 3 dismissed the no-confidence motion against the ex-premier, claiming that it was linked with a “foreign conspiracy” to topple the government and hence was not maintainable. Minutes later, President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on the advice of Khan who had effectively lost the majority.
The Express Tribune newspaper reported on Friday that in his review petition on Thursday, Khan pleaded that Article 248 of the Constitution barred any other institution from interfering in the affairs of Parliament and Suri’s ruling was in accordance with Article 5, when he rejected the no-confidence motion.
The review petition, filed through Imtiaz Siddiqui and Chaudhry Faisal Hussain, stated that Article 248 did not make the applicant answerable for exercising any constitutional powers before any court. It contended that the bench had erred to appreciate the provisions of Articles 66, 67 and 69, the report said.
“The Apex Court has erred to appreciate the mandate of the Constitution which ensures that Parliament, as well as the members/officers thereof, the President as well as the Prime Minister, are not answerable in the exercise of their functions as well as discretionary powers before any Court,” the plea said.
Also, their discharge of constitutional obligations could not be called into question before any court under the Constitution, it added.
“The entire jurisdiction exercised by the Honourable Bench of the Apex Court is in violation of Article 175 of the Constitution,” the petition contended.
Khan contended in the petition that the Supreme Court order, in the absence of any detailed reasons, was not a judicial determination in the context of Article 184(3) read with Article 189 of the Constitution.
Khan said that the then deputy speaker’s ruling was meant for the enforcement of Article 5 of the Constitution and it did not have any connection with the petitioner, who was the chief executive of the country at that time.
In fact, the speaker had certified that there was no no-confidence motion pending against the petitioner, therefore, he advised the dissolution of the National Assembly. He added that there was no evidence that his action was ill-motivated or against the law and the Constitution.
“The Honourable Bench of the Apex Court has erred to appreciate that within the proceedings of the house, i.e. the Parliament are sovereign, independent and are not amenable to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or any other Court under the Constitution,” the petition said.
“That the procedures for a no-confidence motion, election of a new prime minister, have been elaborately provided in the Constitution…therefore, the honourable apex court is not entitled to micro-manage the affairs of parliament,” it said, seeking the recall and setting aside of the apex court’s order of April 7.
The review petition is a constitutional right of an aggrieved party but it is highly unlikely for the top court to change its verdict at the review stage unless some glaring error has been pointed out.