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Opposition Files No-Confidence Motion Against NA Deputy Speaker

by Newsweek Pakistan

Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri. Courtesy National Assembly of Pakistan

Qasim Suri has been accused of showing clear bias toward government and preventing the opposition from their due right to be heard

Opposition parties in the National Assembly on Thursday filed a no-confidence motion against National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri at the National Assembly Secretariat over his alleged refusal to allow them to speak during that day’s session.

Earlier on Thursday, the government passed 21 bills in the Lower House of Parliament despite the opposition pointing out a lack of quorum. Throughout the proceedings, the opposition parties sought to point out the lack of quorum, but were shot down by the deputy speaker. They claimed that “rules were suspended” and all the items on the government’s agenda allowed to proceed without giving the opposition lawmakers their due right to be heard.

Utilizing Rule 12 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, the opposition has filed a no-confidence motion that stresses that the legislation passed was done so “illegally” and through the active suppression of opposition lawmakers. It also maintains that any person who has been deseated—even if they secured a stay order against their removal—does not have the right to occupy the deputy speaker’s seat.

According to the motion filed, the deputy speaker has shown a clear bias in favor of the government. It also points out that several bills were directly approved on Thursday despite not yet having been sent to relevant standing committees; the opposition’s request for 72 hours to review the bills was also ignored.

This development in unlikely to impact the budget session scheduled for today (Friday), which would be conducted by Speaker Asad Qaiser. Under the rules, the matter must now be placed on the agenda of the National Assembly—no later than seven days after notices of the motion have been sent to lawmakers—and members must vote on whether they agree with the motion. If a quarter of the total membership of the Assembly stands in favor of the motion, a resolution would be tabled.

Voting on the resolution to remove the deputy speaker is conducted via secret ballot, and the Assembly cannot be prorogued until the motion has either been disposed of or voted upon. If a majority of the total membership votes in favor of the resolution, the deputy speaker is removed from office.

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