PTI Chairman Imran Khan has been de-notified as the prime minister of Pakistan, a statement from the Cabinet Division said Sunday after the dissolution of the National Assembly.
However, under Article 224 of the Constitution of Pakistan — once a notification is issued — Imran Khan can continue as the prime minister for 15 days till the appointment of a caretaker prime minister.
There is still, however, no clarity over how a caretaker prime minister will be appointed as the National Assembly has been dissolved — and the people who appoint the person, the Opposition leader in the National Assembly and the premier, are no longer in office.
If Imran Khan continues to be the prime minister for selected days, he will not be empowered to make decisions that an elected head of the government can make.
“Consequent upon dissolution of the National Assembly by the president of Pakistan, in terms of Article 58(1) read with Article 48(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, vide Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs’ SRO No. 487(1)/2022, dated 3rd April, 2022, Mr Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi ceased to hold the Office of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, with immediate effect,” said the notification from the Cabinet Division.
The de-notification of Imran Khan comes hours after ex-deputy speaker of the NA Qasim Suri abruptly dismissed the no-confidence motion against the PTI chairman and termed it “unconstitutional”, saying that it was backed by “foreign powers”.
Following the dismissal of the no-confidence motion, President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly under Article 58(1) read with Article 48(1) upon the advice of the ex-premier.
Imran Khan — addressing the nation shortly after the session’s adjournment — sought fresh elections and asked Pakistanis to gear up for the polls as the Opposition lashed out at the government’s act of dismissing the motion as “unconstitutional”.
Not wasting time after the setback in the National Assembly, the Opposition moved to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, with the court itself taking notice of the political crisis.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial — during the hearing earlier today — said that “any order passed by the Prime Minister and the President shall be subject to the order of this court”.
Legal experts Muneeb Farooq, Salman Akram Raja, Salaar Khan, Reema Omar, and Saroop Ijaz termed the government’s move to use Article 5 for dismissing the no-confidence motion unconstitutional.
“When a [no trust] motion has been tabled and when the attorney general has told the court that voting will go through, then this [move] seems to be a disregard of constitutional provisions,” Ijaz stated.
Advocate Khan said to address the rather “flaccid argument”, if votes were bought or sold, the remedy is in the Constitution — disqualification of the defecting member.
“Despite what overnight constitutional experts may say, it doesn’t give you license to chuck the Constitution out the window,” the legal expert added.