Pakistan's Constitutional Crisis: 5 Key Developments in the Last 24 Hours

Imran Khan has nominated former Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed for the role of caretaker prime minister.

3 min read
Hindi Female

Things are moving really fast in Pakistani politics at the moment.

What started as a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan on 8 March has escalated into a full blown constitutional crisis.

Here are the key developments that have taken place in the last 24 hours:


Dismissal of No-Trust Motion

The no-confidence motion against the Imran Khan government was disallowed on Sunday, 3 April, citing a security threat.

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri justified the decision by stating that the no-confidence motion was against Article 5 of the constitution of Pakistan. Specifically, he quoted clause (1) of Article 5.

  • Clause 1 says that "Loyalty to the State is the basic duty of every citizen"

  • Clause 2 says that "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"

Imran Khan then announced that he had advised President Arif Alvi to dissolve the National Assembly under Article 58, which states that "the President may also dissolve the National Assembly in his discretion where, in his opinion, an appeal to the electorate is necessary."

Khan then appealed to the people for fresh elections.


Denotification of Imran Khan

A few hours after the dismissal of the no-trust vote by the deputy speaker of the National Assembly and the dissolution of the National Assembly by the president, Khan was de-notified as the prime minister of Pakistan.

This means that he does not hold any of the powers he did before as the elected head of state.

However, under Article 224 of the Constitution of Pakistan, he can continue as the prime minister for 15 days till the appointment of a caretaker prime minister.

The president confirmed the same on Twitter, writing "Mr. Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, shall continue as Prime Minister till the appointment of caretaker Prime Minister under Article 224 A (4) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan."


Supreme Court's Suo Moto Cognizance

The Supreme Court of Pakistan adjourned on Monday after conducting a hearing regarding the constitutional crisis in the country.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial had stated earlier in the day that the apex court would issue a "reasonable order" on the issue, according to a report published by Dawn.

A Supreme Court bench comprising the CJP, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail heard the case.

While Justice Ahsan said that there indeed were some violations in the National Assembly's proceedings with respect to the no-trust resolution, Justice Akhtar stated that he doesn't "think the deputy speaker had the authority to pass such a ruling."

"The deputy speaker only chairs the session on the non-availability of the speaker," Justice Akhtar added, as quoted by Dawn.

Yesterday, the chief justice had taken suo moto cognizance of the crisis and created a three-member bench headed by him to hear the matter. That bench was expanded today.


Khan Accuses Donald Lu of Leading "Foreign Conspiracy" To Oust Him

Khan had been alleging for weeks that there was a "foreign conspiracy" to overthrow his government due to his independent foreign policy.

On Monday, he finally named Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu as the US diplomat allegedly involved in the "foreign conspiracy" to overthrow his government via a no-confidence motion.

A US State Department spokesperson, however, told ANI that "there is no truth to these allegations. We are closely following developments in Pakistan. We respect and support Pakistan’s constitutional process and the rule of law."


Khan Nominates Gulzar Ahmed As Caretaker PM

Finally, Imran Khan on Monday proposed former Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed as the caretaker prime minister of the country.

Ahmed was sworn-in as the 27th chief justice of Pakistan in December 2019, and held the post till February 2022.

The proposal comes after a letter was written by President Alvi to the prime minister as well as the Leader of the Opposition, Shehbaz Sharif, to propose names for the post of caretaker PM.

Khan and Sharif will be required to recommend two nominees each to a committee, which will be formed by the Speaker of the National Assembly.

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Topics:  Imran Khan Crisis 

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