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So, this was your ‘trump card’?

"The whole drama reminds us of 1993 when the Supreme Court reinstated the National Assembly, led by Nawaz Sharif. Then, the Pakistan People's Party opposed the reinstatement"

He came, he saw, and he demolished the opposition. Yes, I am talking about Fawad Chaudhry. Sunday, April 3, 2022, was another day when I was glued to the TV screen early in the morning. The day was set for voting on a no-confidence motion against the prime minister by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser. On April 3, 2022, I had declared Shehbaz Sharif as my man of the hour in The Side Mirror only for a single reason that he was a lone runner for the top slot of the country in case the motion was approved by the house.

I, just like millions of other country people, waited for the session, and it finally began about half an hour after the scheduled time. The opposition seats were occupied by 176 MNAs besides PTI’s deviant members.

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This means the result was out even before the voting on the no-confidence motion. Wait, this did not happen. The mother of tricks was just to follow. Did you remember Imran Khan’s trump card?

As soon as the recitation of the Holy Quran was over, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri gave the floor to (now former) law-cum-information minister Fawad Chaudhry. He stood up only to read out a note referring to Article 5 of the constitution, calling the no-confidence motion against the prime minister a plot hatched by a foreign power.

He referred to a March 7 meeting between a senior US State Department official and the Pakistani ambassador to Washington, where the Pakistani side was told that the US resented Imran Khan’s foreign policy and unless he was not removed, Pakistan’s relations with the United States would not remain as friendly as usual. On this ground, Fawad Chaudhry insisted that the opposition parties had filed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan only to help the enemy achieve its goal. He pleaded the ‘sovereign’ assembly to reject the no-confidence motion outright.

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“Rejected!,” read out Qasim Suri, adding “and the assembly session is adjourned”.

Within minutes, Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared on state television and while addressing the nation, he said that he had sent a piece of advice to the president to dissolve the National Assembly.

I had not to wait for hours to get a phone call from a friend in the Presidency that the summary for the dissolution of the National Assembly had been approved. In fact, the instant implementation of such advice is mandatory for the president. Right now, Pakistan is without a National Assembly. Prime Minister Imran Khan is an interim prime minister.

The whole drama reminds us of 1993 when the Supreme Court reinstated the National Assembly, led by Nawaz Sharif’s government, which was sacked by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Then, the Pakistan People’s Party opposed the reinstatement.

This time, the PPP is a petitioner in the Supreme Court, seeking a repeat of the 1993 history. Prime Minister Imran Khan, however, is asking for a repeat of the 1990- and 1996-like verdicts when the court did not reinstate the assemblies.

We are passing through the sea of ironies.

The Supreme Court, however, has given a lukewarm response to the emotional and exhausted opposition. The court did not stay the Sunday proceedings of the National Assembly and instead went ahead with the status quo. People wonder what was the good of taking independent notice of the commotion and opening the courtroom on Sunday.

The incumbent Supreme Court’s approach is to maintain order in the country.

May God save us from such trump cards in the future!

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