Can NA speaker disregard dissident MNAs’ votes?

The government has moved the Supreme Court to seeks its interpretation of Article 63 (A) of the Constitution, which deals with the disqualification of MNAs over defection from the parliamentary party.

The government, as the days approaches for the National Assembly to vote on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, is also mulling whether the speaker can disregard the votes of the lawmakers who go against the party’s policies.

In this regard, when Attorney-General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan appeared on Dunya News’s talk show on Tuesday, he said that under Article 95, votes cannot be disregarded, irrespective of the consequences.

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He said that since the provision of the no-confidence motion has been stipulated in the Consititution of Pakistan, he has lately pondered over the issue “quite deeply.”

“I have come to the conclusion that since all members of the National Assembly can exercise their right to vote for or against the motion of the no-confidence under the Constitution as stipulated in Article 95, votes cannot be disregarded, irrespective of the consequences,” he said.

Shedding light on Article 63 (A) of the Constitution, which suggests disqualification on the grounds of the defection of an MNA for not obeying the parliamentary party’s directions when casting a vote of no-confidence against the prime minister, the AGP said, in his view, that the said article would not be enough to create grounds for disqualification because of the existence of Article 95.

“A discussion related to what would be the [course of action] is yet to be happen,” he said.

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When the host of the show asked whether the AGP is stating that the vote of dissent would not be discarded, he said that there could be two views on that but principally agreed that the votes cannot be discarded and should be counted.

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