ISLAMABAD: The apex court summoned former deputy speaker National Assembly Qasim Suri on the next date and hinted at taking action against him for abrogating the constitution.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, on Tuesday, heard the petition of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Qasim Suri against the Election Tribunal’s order. The bench also sought a report from the SC Registrar over a plea accusing Suri of rigging the 2018 elections.

Suri was accused of rigging the election in NA-265 during the 2018 polls. Baloch leader Lashkari Raisani had challenged Suri’s victory with a petition seeking an investigation.

The election tribunal had declared the election null and void and called for re-election. Suri challenged the decision in the Supreme Court. Former CJP Umar Atta Bandial rejected the decision of the tribunal and restored Suri to the post of deputy speaker and issued an injunction against the re-election.

During the proceeding, the chief justice said why not the apex court should proceed against former National Assembly deputy speaker and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Qasim Suri for abrogating the Constitution.

“Qasim Suri did not hold (voting) on the no-confidence motion. He became the cause of the constitutional crisis in the country,” the CJP remarked while referring to the 2022 crisis related to the ouster of then-prime minister Imran Khan via parliamentary vote.

The chief justice noted that Suri dissolved the assembly illegally, and said that a five-member bench of SC has recommended a case of high treason under Article 6. The CJP then stated, should we not commence a treason trial against Suri? Action should be taken, whoever violates the Constitution will have to face the consequences, Justice Faez added.

Earlier, Balochistan National Party (BNP) leader Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani’s lawyer argued that Suri became deputy speaker of the National Assembly “illegally” as he used a stay order to his advantage. He urged the court to withdraw all perks and benefits to which Suri is entitled.

Lawyer Naeem Bukhari stated that Suri’s cases were merged with other cases by the court.

The bench observed that after taking the stay order, the case was not allowed to be scheduled for hearing and the internal system of the Supreme Court was manipulated. I have been a lawyer since 1982. Why was the case not fixed for such a long time? When the assembly was dissolved, was he still using the stay order to his benefit?

Bukhari replied that he was still bound by the stay order at the time. He further added that in his opinion, the lawmaker’s disqualification and re-election have now become “ineffective”.

The chief justice then asked if the same tactic was used to avoid filing a case in the apex court. Stating that if in discrepancies such as this come to the forefront, the court might have to “look” at the entire election process of 2018. He then asked Bukhari when Suri resigned from his position.

“Qasim Suri resigned on April 16, 2022,” replied Bukhari.

The court, issuing a notice to the registrar for not fixing the case earlier, also sought a report within three weeks.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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