Pakistan Supreme Court Needs to Focus on the Speaker’s Ruling

The Pakistan Supreme Court, in a suo moto action, is reviewing the Deputy Speaker’s ruling that dismissed the no-confidence resolution against the Prime Minister. The Court must not waste time considering irrelevant questions and needs to focus on the core issue.

Core Issue

Whether the Speaker has any authority to dismiss a no-confidence resolution moved under Article 95(1). Nothing in the Constitution empowers the Speaker to override the no-confidence motion. The system cannot work under any such Speaker’s discretion.

The Speaker cannot override, under any circumstances, the will of elected legislators acting under a constitutional provision such as Article 95. This is an absolute systemic principle.

The Speaker is a member of the national assembly empowered to administer the house. He is the first among equals, just as the Chief Justice is the first among equals. The Speaker has a single vote, as does every other legislator. He does not have the power to override 172 or more votes. He cannot judge the constitutionality of a no-confidence resolution under any provision except Article 95.

Tangential Issues

Whether the Deputy Speaker can exercise the Speaker’s authority is a sideshow. Focus on the Speaker. If the Speaker does not have the power to dismiss the resolution, the Deputy Speaker does not either.

Whether the Speaker allowed debate on the issues is a distraction. Suppose the Speaker did allow extensive discussion from both sides of the aisle; even then, the Speaker’s authority to dismiss the resolution is non-existent.

Whether the members of the National Assembly are disloyal to Pakistan under Article 5 is a red herring. The Speaker has no authority to dismiss the no-confidence resolution even if the legislators voting for a motion are all “traitors.”