- Pakistan’s Supreme Court is set to conclude a hearing on Thursday on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s obstacle to the opposition’s offer to oust him, which his critics say is unconstitutional.
- Khan lost his parliamentary majority last week and was on the verge of being forced to step down due to a no-confidence motion tabled by the opposition on Sunday.
- But the vice-president of the parliament rejected the proposal and believed that it complied with the constitution and was part of a foreign conspiracy. Khan then dissolved parliament.
- The conflict has plunged 220 million people, who have been ruled by the military for a long time since independence in 1947, into a complete constitutional crisis.
Here are the latest updates:
25 minutes ago (10:59 GMT)
Hearing adjourned, verdict due on Thursday night
News in the Pakistani media say that the hearing in the Supreme Court has been postponed and a verdict is expected at 19:30 (1430 GMT) on Thursday.
The Supreme Court deals with a variety of requests calling for the constitutional value of the Vice-Speaker of the Althingi rejecting a no-confidence motion passed by the opposition on 3 April.
37 minutes ago (10:47 GMT)
Four possible conclusions of the Supreme Court ruling
Here are four possible conclusions from the Supreme Court ruling that is expected later on Thursday:
- The court could order that the parliament be reorganized and that the proposal be resubmitted.
- It could call for new elections for Imran Khan’s party.
- The court may dismiss Khan if he is found to have violated the constitution.
- It may also decide that it may not interfere in parliamentary business.
1 hour ago (10:08 GMT)
The main leader of the opposition addresses the Supreme Court
The leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif rises to address five judges at the Supreme Court.
“I’m not a lawyer, I’m an ordinary person,” he told Geo TV. “If the Vice President’s ruling is wrong, then the parliament should be rebuilt.
Earlier, Judge Umar Ata Bandial said it was clear that the Vice President’s ruling on April 3, which dismissed a motion of censure on Prime Minister Imran Khan, was incorrect.
“The real question is what happens next,” the judge said.
2 hours ago (09:53 GMT)
Security tightened at the Supreme Court: Television report
Security has been tightened at the Supreme Court in the run-up to the important ruling.
Local Geo TV showed footage of riot police taking their place around the courthouse. Major roads leading to the court have been closed.
The development came after the Bandial chief judge said the court could deliver its verdict on Thursday.
“If God wills, we are finishing today,” he said.
2 hours ago (09:16 GMT)
‘Where’s the Vice President’s signature?’
The Supreme Court judge, Judge Jamal Khan Mandokhel, asks why the Vice President’s ruling, which dismissed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, was not signed by him, the Dawn News website reports.
The ruling, which rejected the opposition’s proposal, was read out by Qasim Suri, with Asad Qaiser, Speaker of the National Assembly, absent. Judge Mandokhel said the ruling was announced by the vice president but was signed by the president.
“Where’s the Vice President’s signature?” asked Judge Mandokhel.
The judge also asked about the Foreign Minister’s absence from the building.
Should not the Foreign Minister be present? he asked and got the Attorney General to admit that the Minister should have been present.
2 hours ago (08:57 GMT)
Government lawyer on top court’s jurisdiction
Attorney General Khalid Jawad Khan tells the Supreme Court that parliamentary proceedings were not exempt from judicial review, but the limits were to be defined by the court.
Lawyer Naeem Bukhari, who is representing parliament’s speaker and deputy speaker, argued that the top court had refrained from interfering in parliamentary proceedings in the past.
He asked whether the court would have taken notice of the matter if the speaker had dismissed former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s point of order, which asked for a ruling on an alleged foreign conspiracy that Imran Khan says was linked with the opposition’s no-confidence motion.
4 hours ago (07:22 GMT)
Pakistani rupee falls to an all-time low
Amid the constitutional crisis, the Pakistani rupee has fallen to an all-time low of 188 rupees against the US dollar in the inter-bank market.
Analysts believe that political uncertainty following the dissolution of parliament was pushing the rupee to slide.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shehbaz Sharif accused Imran Khan of “running away after leaving a legacy of broken economy”.
“Time to right all wrongs is NOW,” Sharif tweeted.
As dollar continues to soar, a massive economic meltdown is staring the country in the face. No wonder Niazi is running away after leaving a legacy of broken economy, constitutional crisis & political instability. Pakistan did not deserve it.. Time to right all the wrongs is NOW!
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) April 7, 2022
4 hours ago (06:55 GMT)
Khan ‘sabotaged constitution on April 3’: Sharif
PML-N leader and main opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif hopes the court will announce its verdict at the earliest.
Sharif said the political uncertainty has had a huge impact on the country’s economy, accusing Khan of its “poor handling”.
Value of Dollar in interbank market has touched Rs188. Is SBP a partner in crime and deliberately closing its eyes to massive manipulation going on right now?Does SBP want rupee to touch Rs190 to a dollar before weekend? SBP must clarify it’s position
— Shahbaz Rana (@81ShahbazRana) April 7, 2022
“Imran Niazi is an absolutely fraud,” Sharif said, adding that Khan “sabotaged the constitution on April 3”.
“If you want to save Pakistan, then you have to save the constitution and ensure free and fair elections,” he said. “I am sure the judges will protect the constitution.”
5 hours ago (06:41 GMT)
Calling opposition ‘traitors’ was a joke: ANP leader
Awami National Party (ANP) leader Mian Iftikhar says declaring the opposition leaders fighting for the supremacy of the constitution as “traitors” was a joke.
“On the other hand, those who violated the constitution were still ruling the country,” he told reporters outside the Supreme Court.
“We expect a decision that would strengthen the constitution and parliament.”
5 hours ago (06:17 GMT)
Academic Ayesha Jalal on what happens next in Pakistan
“You never know with Pakistan’s politics – anything is possible. After all, it is very rare for governments in Pakistan to complete a full term. But no matter what the Supreme Court decides about the no-confidence vote, it does look set that Pakistan will be heading to an election in the next 90 days.
“It will be a bitter, bitter election – and held in the middle of Pakistan’s hot summer. Uncertainty, politicking and potential unrest could dominate the next few months.
“The danger is that Khan will not accept an election loss and take his fight to supporters in the streets. If a political crisis becomes a law-and-order issue, the army – never far away from Pakistani politics, and seemingly losing patience with Khan – might decide enough is enough and move in.
“That said, there is little appetite among the population for a military dictatorship.”
6 hours ago (05:45 GMT)
‘Taken oath to protect constitution’: Ex-foreign minister
Former Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi denies his party has taken any unconstitutional steps.
“We have taken oath to protect the constitution,” he told reporters outside the Supreme Court.
He said parliament’s deputy speaker did not disallow the no-confidence motion but pointed towards “facts of political interference that tantamount to an effort for regime change”.
“The allegations can be probed,” he said. “In my opinion, the only solution to the current political crisis is fresh election.”
Out of curiosity- is there any qualified legal professional who publicly supports the deputy speaker’s actions as constitutional?
— Hassan Kamal Wattoo (@hkwattoo1) April 6, 2022
6 hours ago (05:07 GMT)
PM Khan to huddle with party leaders
Khan will chair a meeting of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party at his residence in the capital Islamabad at approximately 1pm (08:00 GMT), media reports said.
The PTI’s top leadership is meeting to devise their strategy in anticipation of a verdict by the Supreme Court.
Senator Faisal Javed says an election will happen in 3 months – does he already know in advance what the ruling will be?
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) April 7, 2022
6 hours ago (05:03 GMT)
Far-right party urges court to undo Khan’s moves
Pakistan’s far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which rose to prominence in 2017 for its support of anti-blasphemy laws, has urged the Supreme Court to undo the decisions of Khan’s government.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, the TLP said it would not allow Khan’s government to make changes to the country’s constitution.
“If the deputy speaker’s ruling is condoned, then we fear Islamic provisions of the constitution would be violated and a non-Muslim could be appointed president or prime minister through a simple ruling,” says the statement, released in Urdu.
7 hours ago (04:47 GMT)
‘Pakistan and the constitution demand justice’
The leaders of opposition Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP) say they expect the top court to do justice and restore the National Assembly.
“It’s the fifth day that constitution is suspended in our country,” former deputy speaker Faisal Karim Kundi told reporters outside the Supreme Court.
“Pakistan and the constitution demand justice,” said PPP leader and Senator Sherry Rehman, who demanded that the members of Khan’s cabinet be put on the Exit Control List (ECL) so they are not able to leave the country and face accountability.
7 hours ago (04:20 GMT)
The trial in the Supreme Court begins on the fourth day
The Supreme Court is due to meet again on the fourth day on Thursday at 9:30 (04:30 GMT).
The opposition has objected to the decision to block the no-confidence vote in the Supreme Court, which began proceedings on Monday.
Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said: “Let’s start early tomorrow to conclude the case,” at the end of a meeting on Wednesday in which the defense presented arguments for Khan’s actions.