ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has fixed March 21 (Monday) to hear the Supreme Court Bar Association’s (SCBA) petition, seeking directions to all state functionaries to act strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the law in light of the no-trust vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly.
A division bench of the apex court led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial will take up the SCBA petition.
The SCBA filed a petition stating that all parties must be restrained from acting in any manner detrimental to, and unwarranted by, the Constitution of Pakistan.
The body, taking note of the hardline rhetoric espoused by all major political parties on “both sides of the aisle in the National Assembly”, warned the apex court that parties have “expressed their intentions to gather, and protest at mass scale in the federal capital in the wake of the vote of no-confidence” and there have also been indications “that the gatherings may turn violent”.
“The position taken by the major political parties is likely to contribute to the ensuing chaos,” the petition read. “It is in the spirit of democracy and democratic principles embedded in our Constitution that the party(ies) having the confidence of the majority should be entitled to form the government, therefore, any attempt to undermine the process goes against the very spirit of the Constitution and democracy.”
The SCBA’s warning that the political circumstances are “likely to trigger an anarchic situation, which may not remain within the control of the two sides”, has led the body to request the Supreme Court to ensure that respondents and officials maintain law and order in the Islamabad Capital Territory to prevent any assembly, gathering, and processions, which may result in hindrance or prevention of the members of the National Assembly (MNAs) from reaching the Parliament House and Parliament Lodges.
The petition added that respondents, officials, and the public must be restrained from hindering or preventing MNAs from attending the session of the National Assembly, as and when summoned.
The SCBA also stated that mobility must be ensured for all MNAs, against any coercive measures or actions against them, including arrest and detention.
The petition requested the apex court to direct the National Assembly speaker to discharge his duties, perform his functions and dispose of the proceedings on the motion for no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran, strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.
The SCBA’s petition was filed as the government and opposition leaders continued to trade blows in the volatile days leading to the no-confidence vote. The ruling party ministers reiterated on March 16 that efforts to topple Premier Imran would not only serve as a “self-defeating” move but would also provide the government an opportunity to “lock them up in a cage like pigeons”.
Meanwhile, on March 13, hours after the government announced a “mammoth” rally to deter the party lawmakers from supporting the no-confidence motion against Imran, the opposition leaders gave a call to workers and supporters to march towards the federal capital in order to counter the ruling party’s rally.
JUI-F and PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said, “We are going to do a lot. We are going to make them [incumbent government] regret threatening us.” He vowed a tit-for-tat response, saying: “The water is over the dam for the government.”