Pakistani media tore into Imran Khan for abandoning democratic order and said that the prime minister’s behaviour was unsportsmanlike and outlined that he did not play until the last ball, as he claimed earlier that he would.
Pakistan’s premier newspaper the Dawn on its website put up an opinion piece titled ‘Editorial: Democracy subverted’ where it criticised Pakistan prime minister’s move to crush parliamentary process and hurling the nation into a constitutional crisis. The Pakistani media and political commentators were certain to an extent that Imran Khan would lose the no-confidence motion tabled against him but Imran Khan advised Pakistan president Dr Arif Alvi on Sunday to dissolve the National Assembly.
Jibran Nasir, while speaking to news agency the Dawn, said that the PTI risks surviving is democratic processes are stifled in a democratic nation. “Democracy can only work if all political parties, leaders and institutions submit themselves to a mutually agreed higher value or code, which in our case is our Constitution,” Nasir said.
He said that Imran Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), chose to ‘sacrifice democracy to save itself’. “But they don’t realise that if democracy doesn’t survive, they won’t either,’ he further said.
Nasir argues that dismissing the motion under Article 5 was unconstitutional. He was referring to Imran Khan’s cabinet minister Fawad Chaudhry’s invocation of Article 5 in the National Assembly which says ‘loyalty to the state was the basic duty of every citizen’. Chaudhry questioned that a foreign conspiracy to oust the government cannot be entertained and questioned the constitutionality of the no-trust move asking the deputy speaker to weigh-in.
Nasir deems it unconstitutional because it sends a message that the 86 parliamentarians who filed the no-confidence motion are acting against the interest of Pakistan.
The outlet Dawn in its editorial also pointed to the hastiness with which the deputy speaker, Qasim Suri, started reading out the ruling - which many say was prepared in advance - without replacing the speaker’s name with his own as he issued the order to adjourn the session. The Speaker of the Pakistan National Assembly could not conduct the proceedings as the opposition moved a motion for the removal of National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.
Salahuddin Ahmed, a lawyer, speaking to Dawn said that the deputy speaker’s actions were malafide in its intent. “The court not only can, but must intervene,” he was quoted as saying. Both lawyers told the news agency that the Supreme Court of Pakistan is likely to declare the Speaker’s ruling illegal.