ISLAMABAD: The coalition government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has decided to put President Dr Arif Alvi, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, former National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri and Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema on trial for treason on charges of violating the Constitution.
The PTI leaders face the death penalty if convicted of charges over their alleged subversion of the Constitution.
According to a report published in Express Tribune, interior and law ministries, both headed by Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are preparing a reference under Article 6 of the Constitution against the key leaders of the opposition PTI party.
The federal government has accused President Avli and Suri of abrogating the Constitution at the behest of Khan during the proceedings of the no-trust motion earlier this month.
Suri, a member of Khan’s party, had blocked the no-confidence motion, ruling it was part of a foreign conspiracy and, therefore, unconstitutional.
However, in a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court set aside the ruling and the subsequent dissolution of the Lower House by President Alvi on Khan’s advice.
“The ruling of the deputy speaker of the National Assembly in relation to the resolution for a vote of no-confidence against the prime minister under Article 95 of the Constitution is declared to be contrary to the Constitution and the law and of no legal effect, and the same are hereby set aside,” the top court said in its short order.
The apex court ruled that President Alvi’s decision to dissolve the National Assembly was also “contrary to the Constitution and the law and of no legal effect”. It noted that the prime minister could not have advised the president to dissolve the assembly as he continued to remain under the bar imposed under Clause (1) of Article 58 of the Constitution.
Likewise, Governor Cheema, who has thus far refused to endorse the election of chief minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz, is also accused of subverting the constitutional process in Punjab.
The government has maintained that President Alvi subverted the Constitution on the orders of Khan “which is a clear violation of the Supreme Court and the High Court orders”.
The authorities are obtaining statements of the accused and records of national and provincial assemblies, the insiders said.
The sources also said that relevant court orders and judicial precedents will be attached with the reference to be filed in the Supreme Court.
The reference will write a new chapter in the political and judicial history of Pakistan, they added.
Under the law, the federal government has the authority to take action under Article 6.