Editorial: Democracy subverted – Pakistan

People are shocked. Ahead of the no-confidence vote, the prime minister repeatedly hinted that he had a ‘Trump card’ on his sleeve. Although political experts and the media confidently predicted Imran Khan’s defeat in the vote of no confidence, he did not appear to be agitated. No one expected that his last maneuver would have to do with the burning of the democratic order by a democratically empowered party.

As parliamentary processes are shattered at the orders of a leader who continues to despise Parliament, Pakistan plunges into the dark abyss of a constitutional crisis. In retrospect, it seems that the Captain was planning to use this damn card all the time.

It came as a rude shock. It takes a long time for a self-proclaimed ‘fighter’ to behave unsportsmanly. By breaking the rules of the game instead of ‘playing to the last ball’, Khan took a devastating blow to constitutionalism and raised the greatest concern that he might not be fit for office within a democratic order.

read: Imran Khan’s recent move further demonstrates his disdain for parliament and the democratic process.

Everything that happened in the National Assembly on Sunday violated all the rules governing the proceedings in the House of Representatives, especially those dealing with motions of no confidence.

It was clearly staged. When Parliament convened it was clear that the opposition had a number to oust the prime minister. However, before the bill was voted on, the newly appointed Attorney General recorded ‘No’ under Article 5 of the Constitution. “.

The vice-chairman, who had to preside over the proceedings because the opposition had also raised a bill of no confidence in the speaker, hastily accepted the objection. Without the slightest evidence that the motion had to do with the initiator’s allegiance to the country, the Vice-Chairman rejected the motion on the grounds that it was inconsistent with Article 5. He didn’t even bother to change the speaker’s name to his own when he gave the order to conduct the meeting.

read: Detailed ruling on no-confidence agreement claims opposition ‘nexus’ with foreign powers

Before the public could handle the shock, the prime minister, conveniently absent from the meeting, appeared on state television. He said in a pre-programmed broadcast that he had already sent a letter to the president to dissolve the National Assembly so that a new election could be held, saying, ‘Congratulations’ to the public for the ‘failure’ of the no-confidence bill.

He had not previously been able to play this hand as the constitution could not dissolve Congress while a no-confidence vote against him was pending. His request was again hastily granted, and the president immediately dissolved the National Assembly.

If Prime Minister Khan’s shocking decision to choose Pervaiz Ellahi over his loyalists for the role of Punjab’s prime minister appears to be out of principle, his actions yesterday showed he lacks the courage and patience to become the leader he wants to become.

He was able to play the political game like a true sportsman and still got stronger from defeat given the sharp narrative he unfolded right down to the voting. Instead, he decided to put the country into a constitutional crisis. The president has also failed to act wisely. Instead of examining the constitutionality of the entire process, he acted as an Imran Khan loyalist and tainted his place with his partisan decisions.

The question is now for the Supreme Court to decide. On the other hand, some factions seem to be actively pushing the narrative that the problem should remain as the new elections have already been announced. It will be, they say, because the ouster of the government and a new leadership in Congress are what every political party wants.

However, these claims must be resisted at all levels, as they seek to justify all the unconstitutional measures taken to enforce this outcome. I hope the Supreme Court will remind you that there is only one way to provide adequate remedies for wrongdoing and to exercise due power over all parties, and that way is always in the Constitution. Anything else is unacceptable.