The dismissal of the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan was "unconstitutional", the Pakistan Supreme Court has said, reconstituting the national assembly and ordering the Speaker to call a session. The court has also ruled out a review petition. The no confidence vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan will now be held on Saturday at 10 am.
I have called a cabinet mtg tomorrow as well as our parl party mtg; & tomorrow evening I will address the nation. My message to our nation is I have always & will continue to fight for Pak till the last ball.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 7, 2022
If Mr Khan loses, he will be the first Prime Minister to be removed through a no-trust vote. Two other Prime Ministers against whom a no-confidence motion was called, resigned before the vote. But Mr Khan had refused to step down, insisting that he would "play till the last ball".
On Sunday, the no-trust motion against Imran Khan's government was dismissed by the Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri. Known to be a loyalist of the Prime Minister, Mr Suri said the motion was against the Constitution and rules of Pakistan and cited security issues as Mr Khan's supporters hit the streets.
Minutes later, the Prime Minister had called for fresh elections and advised the President for the dissolution of Assembly. The fresh election was be held within 90 days, though earlier today, the Election Commission said it cannot be done before October.
Terming the move "unconstitutional", the Opposition parties had challenged the Speaker's decision in the Supreme Court.
Under Article 58 of Pakistan's Constitution, the National Assembly cannot be dissolved if there is a no-confidence motion against the government.
But in an exclusive interview to NDTV, Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry, known to be the right hand of Imran Khan, had said the no confidence motion was dismissed before the Prime Minister suggested dissolution of the assembly to the President and announced elections.
Mr Khan, he added, "was within his rights to advise the President for dissolution (of assembly)".
After the Supreme Court's decision today, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the leader of Pakistan People's Party (PPP), tweeted, "Democracy is the best revenge! Jiya Bhutto! Jiya Awam! Pakistan Zindabad".
Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the man who might replace Imran Khan at the top post, tweeted: "An epoch-making day! Mubarak to all who supported, defended & campaigned for the supremacy of the Constitution. Today, politics of lies, deceit & allegations has been buried. People of Pakistan have won! God bless Pakistan".
Mr Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party effectively lost majority in the 342-member assembly earlier this month when a key coalition partner said its seven lawmakers would vote with the opposition. More than a dozen lawmakers from the ruling party also indicated that they would cross the floor.
Mr Khan had claimed that it was a "conspiracy" against his government that was engineered by the US because he would not take the side of the US and Europe on global issues against Russia and China. The opposition, he alleged, was conspiring with Washington to remove him. His party claimed that the legislators who planned to change sides had been bribed.
Pakistan's powerful army has indicated that it is maintaining distance from the whole issue, saying it has "absolutely nothing" to do with the prevailing political situation in the country. Over the last week, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has met the Prime Minister twice.
Pakistan has spent over three decades under army rule and there have been four coups since it got independence in 1947.