Imported govt will
not be accepted,
Army can’t save
democracy: Imran Khan

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan in an address to the nation on Friday said he accepts the Supreme Court’s verdict issued a day ago.

He also vowed to not accept what he termed as an “imported government” and called on the nation to come out on Sunday (April 10) after Isha prayers to hold peaceful protests. “I am saddened by the verdict, but I accept it,” the premier said at the start of his speech.

He said the deputy speaker prorogued the assembly and set aside the no-confidence motion in light of Article 5 of the Constitution. “There was foreign interference in Pakistan’s no-confidence. I wanted the SC to at least look at it. It was a very serious allegation that a foreign country wants to topple the government through a conspiracy.”

The premier said he was at least expecting a probe by the SC. “The SC could have at least asked for and looked at the document to gauge whether we’re speaking the truth. I was a bit disappointed because this is a very big issue and there was no discussion on it in the SC.”

PM Imran said he was also saddened at the haste with which the court made its decision.

He said open horse-trading and “buying and selling of consciences of lawmakers” was going on in the country. “Every child knows the price at which consciences are being sold.”

“What kind of democracy is this? Which democracy in the world allows this (horse-trading)? And the biggest forum for justice, the judiciary, we expected it to take suo motu action if nothing else.”

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the nation on TV on Friday.

He added that “politicians are not sold this way even in banana republics”.

He lambasted PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, claiming that they had “begun horse-trading” in Changa Manga 30 years ago and the country’s politics had worsened since then.

Even lawmakers elected on reserved seats were selling their consciences, he said, adding that those seats were a “gift” from the party.

The premier lamented that the spectacle that was taking place at the moment was a “huge setback” for his dream of seeing Pakistan become a great country.

Yesterday, the apex court had in a 5-0 unanimous verdict set aside the April 3 ruling of National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri in which he dismissed the no-trust motion against the premier and also reversed the dissolution of the NA by the president on the PM’s advice.

As the opposition celebrated, the prime minister took to Twitter to announce that he had summoned a meeting of the federal cabinet for today and would also address the nation.

He said a meeting of the PTI’s parliamentary committee would also be convened today and that he would “continue to fight for Pakistan till the last ball”.

‘Speaker’s ruling contrary to Constitution’

The apex court, in its short order, ruled that the deputy speaker’s ruling was “contrary to the Constitution and the law and of no legal effect”.

It ruled that President Dr Arif Alvi’s decision to dissolve the NA was also “contrary to the Constitution and the law and of no legal effect”, noting that the prime minister could not have advised the president to dissolve the assembly as he is facing a no-confidence motion.

“It is further declared that the [National] Assembly was in existence at all times, and continues to remain and be so,” the short order said.

The court’s verdict restored the prime minister and his cabinet in their position. “In consequence of the foregoing, it is declared that the prime minister and federal ministers, ministers of state, advisers, etc stand restored to their respective offices,” the office said.

The court also ordered for the NA session to reconvene on Saturday (tomorrow) no later than 10:30am, saying that the session cannot be prorogued without the conclusion of the no-trust motion against PM Imran.

The saga

The joint opposition had submitted a no-confidence motion against the premier with the NA Secretariat on March 8.

In the days to follow, the country’s political landscape was abuzz with activity as parties and individuals changed alliances and the PTI and opposition were seen trading barbs and allegations alongside intensifying efforts to ensure their success in the no-confidence contest.

Eventually, major allies of the ruling PTI — Balochistan Awami Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan — deserted the government and joined the opposition ranks which led to PM Imran losing his majority in the lower house of parliament.

It was expected that if voting on the motion went ahead as scheduled on April 3, PM Imran would be ousted from office. The joint opposition, meanwhile, had nominated Shehbaz Sharif as their candidate for the top post.

But before voting could go ahead, the deputy speaker, who was chairing the session, in a shock ruling, dismissed the no-trust motion, terming it contradictory to Article 5 of the Constitution, which mandates loyalty to the state.

According to the deputy speaker, the no-confidence motion was part of a foreign conspiracy to oust PM Imran, evidence of which had been seen by the National Security Committee and the federal cabinet in the form of a ‘threat letter’ sent to Pakistan through its ambassador in a foreign country. Immediately after Suri prorogued the session following his ruling, the premier addressed the nation on television, saying that he had advised the president to dissolve the National Assembly. Hours later, the president issued a notification to dissolve the lower house.