ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s new government has held legal consultations to file a treason reference against President Arif Alvi, former prime minister Imran Khan and two of their party members for allegedly violating the country’s constitution in recent weeks, local media reported while quoting unnamed sources on Thursday.
Pakistan witnessed a change of government earlier this month after Khan lost his parliamentary majority and could not survive a no-trust vote. However, he described the downfall of his administration as part of an international conspiracy against him since he was trying to pursue an independent foreign policy.
In an unprecedented move, the former deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Qasim Khan Suri, disallowed voting on no-trust motion on the same grounds before the lower house of parliament was dissolved by the president on the prime minister’s advice.
The matter was, however, taken up by the Supreme Court of Pakistan which restored the National Assembly after several days of hearing and ordered the speaker to proceed with the no-confidence voting under the constitution.
Khan has mounted serious public pressure against the new coalition government after resigning from the National Assembly while some of his party members, who still hold important public offices, have tried to hinder the working of the country’s new administration.
“The government has started preparing a reference under Article 6 of the constitution against the important personalities of the [former] Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf administration,” said Geo News. “Sources claim the government is continuing its consultations with legal experts to prepare the reference against the alleged constitutional violations of the previous administration.”
Other local media outlets also reported the development, saying the reference will be filed against the president, former prime minister, ex-deputy speaker of the National Assembly and the current governor of Punjab province Umar Sarfraz Cheema.
Cheema refused to administer oath to the province’s chief minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz before the new prime minister decided to dismiss him from his position. However, the president asked him to continue with his official responsibilities.
According to the Express Tribune, the reference is being prepared by the ministries of interior and law.
“The federal government has accused President Avli and the former deputy speaker of abrogating the Constitution at the behest of ex-PM Imran during the proceedings of the no-trust motion earlier this month,” it added.
The authorities are currently trying obtain statements of all four individuals along with records of proceedings of the national and Punjab provincial assemblies, local media reported.
According to a report published in Express Tribune, interior and law ministries, both headed by Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are preparing a reference under Article 6 of the Constitution against the key leaders of the opposition PTI party.
The federal government has accused President Avli and Suri of abrogating the Constitution at the behest of Khan during the proceedings of the no-trust motion earlier this month.
The government has maintained that President Alvi subverted the Constitution on the orders of Khan “which is a clear violation of the Supreme Court and the High Court orders”.
The authorities are obtaining statements of the accused and records of national and provincial assemblies, the insiders said. The sources also said that relevant court orders and judicial precedents will be attached with the reference to be filed in the Supreme Court.
The reference will write a new chapter in the political and judicial history of Pakistan, they added. Under the law, the federal government has the authority to take action under Article 6.