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SC larger bench to hear notice on political situation today

CJP says all orders, actions initiated by PM, president subject to court order

The Supreme Court (SC) on Sunday constituted a larger bench to hear a notice on the current political situation after National Assembly (NA) Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri rejected the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The bench will hear the notice at 1 pm. Meanwhile, the scheduled hearing on the interpretation of Article 63A has been postponed. Earlier, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said that all orders and actions initiated by the prime minister and president regarding the dissolution of the National Assembly will be subject to the court’s order.

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He made the observation after taking notice of the current situation in the country following the dismissal of the no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan and the subsequent dissolution of the National Assembly by President Dr. Arif Alvi, the spokesperson of the apex court said. A three-member bench of the top court comprising CJP Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar heard the case. During the hearing, the chief justice further said the law and order situation in the country should not deteriorate, instructing all political parties to act responsibly.

The chief justice said that no unconstitutional step should be taken by any state institution and that no one should try to take advantage of the situation. “Public order should be maintained,” the CJP said.

He said the court did not want to drag the hearing on account of Ramazan and that notices should be issued to all the political parties. Justice Bandial also ordered the interior and defence secretaries to brief the court on the law and order situation. The chief justice ordered that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)’s request be accepted and said the court would review the deputy speaker’s actions.

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The court, however, rejected a request to suspend the deputy speaker’s ruling and directed the attorney general to present it today.

Justice Bandial remarked that President Arif Alvi should be made a respondent in the case since it was an “important matter”. He also ordered that the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and all political parties be made respondents in the suo motu notice.

The court issued notices to Attorney General Khalid Khalid Jawed Khan, the speaker, deputy speaker, defence secretary, interior secretary, and all political parties and adjourned the case’s hearing till today. The court hearing also touched on the proceedings in the Punjab Assembly (PA) session that saw the vote for the chief minister adjourned.

Justice Mazhar asked about the reasons behind the adjournment of the session. Replying, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s advocate Azam Nazeer Tarar said none was provided by the PA deputy speaker. “Attempts are also being made to create a constitutional crisis in Punjab,” he said.

The chief justice remarked that the court could not interfere in the NA’s proceedings beyond a certain extent. He added that if a request regarding the PA is made then it would be looked into with detail.

He subsequently adjourned the matter till today while issuing a notice to Punjab’s advocate general.

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