After the National Assembly (NA) Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri on Sunday “dismissed” the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan, terming it against Article 5 of the Constitution, the legal war began. PM Khan then addressed the nation, saying he had advised the President to dissolve the National Assembly, which the President approved. The country is in a state of shock and the main question is: Is what is going on, legal?


Loyalty to the state is the basic duty of every citizen under Article 5: Fawad Chaudhry

The much-awaited and crucial NA session started after a delay to hold the vote on the no-confidence motion against Khan.


Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said, “On March 7, our official ambassador was invited to a meeting attended by the representatives of other countries. The meeting was informed that a motion against PM Imran was being presented,” he said, adding that this happened a day before the Opposition filed the no-trust move.

“We were told that relations with Pakistan were dependent on the success of the no-confidence motion. We were told that if the motion fails, then Pakistan’s path would be very difficult. This is an operation for a regime change by a foreign government,” he alleged.

NA speaker dismisses no-confidence motion against PM Imran, terms it contradictory to Article 5

After Fawad Chaudhry spoke, Deputy Speaker Suri agreed with Fawad and said that the no-confidence motion was presented on March 8 and should be according to the law and the Constitution. “No foreign power shall be allowed to topple an elected government through a conspiracy,” he said, adding that the points raised by the minister were “valid”.

He dismissed the motion, ruling that it was “contradictory” to the law, the Constitution, and the rules. The session ended and the government representatives walked out.

LET’S GET LEGAL: What is Article 5?

According to Article 5, “Loyalty to the State is the basic duty of every citizen.”

“Obedience to the Constitution and law is the [inviolable] obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan.”

THEN WHAT HAPPENED: On PM Imran Khan’s advice, President Arif Alvi approved the dissolution of the assembly

In a surprise move, the premier on Sunday said that he has advised President Alvi to dissolve all the assemblies.

President Dr Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on the proposal of PM Khan.

In a brief address to the nation after the no-confidence motion was rejected, the premier congratulated the nation and said that he had sent a proposal to the President to dissolve the NA and the nation should prepare for the next election.


What do the legal experts have to say?

The Current reached out to legal experts to understand and get better clarity on the constitutional process in relevance to dismissing the no-trust move against PM Khan.

Senior Lawyer and Journalist Muneeb Farooq terming the dismissal of the no-trust move “absolute nonsense” said, “The court will decide if what the speaker did is illegal and the no-confidence motion will likely move on. Today the court is closed, they [the Opposition] will take it to the court tomorrow.”

Farooq further said, “Article 69 says that the court cannot question parliament proceedings, but there are exceptions,” adding that certain things were taken to court and the Supreme Court has ruled on them.


Farooq said that the Prime Minister does not have the right to ask the President to dissolve the national assembly when there is a motion of no-confidence against him. He also added that the Speaker cannot dismiss a motion against the PM when the motion is already a part of the agenda. He added that Article 5 cannot be used in this situation, the way the government has used it.


Supreme Court Lawyer Chaudhry Faisal Hussain said, “The Deputy Speaker gave the ruling to dismiss the no-confidence motion. It is in his power to discard the no-confidence motion against the prime minister. Hence the motion gets dismissed and PM Khan still remains the prime minister.”


“Since Imran Khan is still Prime Minister, he can call for fresh elections, after dissolving the assembly, which he has done. The issue now will be that PM Khan has already moved past the no-confidence motion. If the assembly had not been dissolved, then perhaps the Supreme Court could make a ruling on the no-confidence issue.”


Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) Salman Akram Raja speaking to Geo News said that what happened in the National Assembly today was “highly unconstitutional”.

He further said that SCP will look into the ruling given by the deputy speaker and could decide on allowing early elections or letting the no-confidence motion vote happen.

The Joint Opposition had submitted the no-confidence motion to kick out PM Khan on March 8. According to reports, Chief Justice Umar Bandial has called his fellow justices to his place to discuss what is going on in the country.

Meanwhile, sources say the Supreme Court may hold special proceedings today as well.