SC wants to know about ‘foreign conspiracy’ before making decision

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Where are NSC meeting’s minutes? CJP asks Babar

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday said the apex court wanted to know more about the alleged conspiracy against Prime Minister Imran Khan before issuing its decision in the sou motu case against the ruling issued by the deputy speaker that dismissed the no-confidence motion against Imran on the pretext of a foreign conspiracy.

During the hearing of the case Wednesday, Justice Bandial said, “We want to see what the conspiracy was that was used to dismiss the motion.”

He added that the court would also examine whether the speaker had the authority to deviate from the agenda of the house and rely on some other “facts”.

“Whether there was such material present…when did the meeting of the National Security Committee take place,” Justice Bandial went on to ask and said the PTI lawyer, Babar Awan, also needed to tell the court if a constitutional process could be sidelined.

An allegation was made in the case, he said, adding that the court wanted to focus on “facts” in the case as the ruling was an action by the speaker.

Awan said a message regarding a meeting, which was attended by the deputy head of the mission, defence attache and three other diplomats, arrived in Pakistan on March 7. “Was this information coded as you used the term ‘decipher’,” the SC asked.

Awan explained that the Foreign Office examined the memo and then a meeting was called that was not attended by the foreign secretary due to unavailability.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes notes from the cipher and briefs the cabinet,” he said, adding that he had brought a brief with him that he could show the court in an in-camera hearing.

However, the court rejected the request, saying it was not asking for the letter at present. “There is nothing in the case that requires an in-camera hearing,” the CJP added.

Awan further said the prime minister was told in a briefing that a country was unhappy with the premier but if the no-confidence motion against him succeeded then everything would be fine.

“Then a no-trust motion, already mentioned elsewhere, against Imran is filed on March 8,” he said, claiming that the issue was brought to parliament and a notice was issued in this regard.

He argued that it was incumbent upon citizens to remain loyal to the state. CJP Bandial replied that the ruling only contained allegations, not findings and asked if the speaker could issue a ruling without revealing the facts. “The court needs to decide on the constitutionality of this particular action,” the judge added.

“Can a speaker go beyond Article 95 to give a ruling that’s not part of the agenda,” the court asked. “You are welcome to defend the ruling but on solid ground,” the chief justice told Awan. “Where are the minutes of the NSC meeting,” the judge asked. The court wanted facts, Justice Bandial said.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked about the briefing to the cabinet by the foreign ministry.

 

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