The Pakistan Supreme Court on Tursday striked down the National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri’s decision to reject no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan. Restoring the lower house, the apex court ordered a session on April 9 at 10 AM to organise no-confidence vote. 

The court’s ruling came days after National Assembly’s deputy speaker Suri had dismissed the no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)  member had said that the vote was linked with a foreign conspiracy to topple the government. 

Immediately after the vote was called off, Khan said that he had adviced President Ari Alvi to dissolve the National Assembly and call for snap elections withing 90 days. The house was dismantled and former Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed was announced as the caretaker Prime Minister. 

The five-member bench comprising Chief Justice Bandial, Justices Ijazul Ahsan, Mohammad Ali Mazhar Miankhel, Munib Akhtar and Jamal Khan Mandokhel said that dissolving the assembly was unconstitutional. 

During the hearing, Chief Justice Bandial noted deputy speaker’s ruling is, prima facie, a violation of Article 95.

The opposition has said it has 172 votes in the 340-seat house to oust Khan, after several members of his own party and a key coalition partner defected.

Khan said Washington wants him gone because of what he describes as his independent foreign policy, which often favors China and Russia. Khan has also been a strident critic of Washington’s war on terror and was criticized for a visit to Moscow on Febraury 24, hours after Russian tanks crossed into Ukraine.

In Pakistan, the candidate with the majority in the lower house National Assembly, which has 342 members, is elected as prime minister. This means that a candidate needs at least 172 votes or more to become prime minister, which is the same number of votes needed to pass a no-confidence vote against him and his cabinet.