Home Latest News Supreme Court Takes up Long-Pending Qasim Suri De-Seating Case

Supreme Court Takes up Long-Pending Qasim Suri De-Seating Case

CJP directs ex-NA deputy speaker to file response, hints at action over ‘abrogating Constitution’ during vote of no-confidence

by Staff Report

File photo. Farooq Naeem—AFP

The Supreme Court on Tuesday summoned ex-National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri to appear before it in person after filing a concise statement ahead of the next hearing sometime in February.

Heading a three-member bench, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa questioned why the court should not initiate proceedings against Suri for allegedly abrogating the Constitution when he prorogued the National Assembly without conducting a vote on the no-confidence motion against then-prime minister Imran Khan. The CJP also directed the registrar to submit a report within three weeks on why Suri’s appeal challenging his de-seating by an Election Tribunal in 2019 was still pending.

On April 7, 2022, a five-judge Supreme Court had denounced the April 3 ruling of the deputy speaker on the no-trust move by holding it contrary to the Constitution. At the time, former Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel had written an additional note observing Suri’s conduct was unbecoming of the deputy speaker’s prestigious position. “It was for Parliament to consider whether the act by deputy speaker attracts Article 6 (high treason) of the Constitution or not,” he wrote.

During the hearing, Suri’s counsel Naeem Bukhari argued the present case had become infructuous, as his client had resigned on April 16, 2022. However, the CJP questioned why the case had remained pending for five years, with Suri continuing to enjoy the perks and privileges of the deputy speaker.

CJP Isa also recalled that Suri had triggered a constitutional crisis with his ruling on the vote of no-confidence, and lamented that the apex court’s system was “manipulated” in ensuring his case was not fixed for hearing. In light of such discrepancies, observed the CJP, the court might have to look at the entire election process of 2018.

Bukhari argued the apex court had suspended the tribunal’s decision in 2019, with the CJP questioning how he could assert this when he had requested for the stay order. “I have been a counsel of the high court and never in my life [have] I ever tried to fix any case for hearing,” maintained Bukhari.

“Any damage done to this institution, in fact, is damage done to all of us,” remarked the CJP, emphasizing that the apex court “belongs to all of us.” He also remarked that anyone who violated the Constitution would have to face consequences and vowed to end any interference in the internal system of the Supreme Court.

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