Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday set aside a ruling by the deputy speaker of the national parliament that had blocked a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The controversial house ruling on Sunday led to the dissolution of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, by President Arif Alvi, acting on Khan’s advice. The president had also called for fresh elections.
However, the five-judge panel of the top court, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, unanimously declared as unconstitutional all the steps stemming from the deputy speaker’s ruling.
The verdict also restored Khan as the prime minister and his cabinet as well, ordering the session of the National Assembly to reconvene on Saturday morning to reorganize the vote of no-confidence to determine the fate of the embattled prime minister.
Khan had lost the majority in the 342-member house in the run-up to Sunday’s no-confidence vote after nearly two dozen lawyers from his ruling party defected and main coalition partners switched sides and joined the opposition.
The 69-year-old former cricket star’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party won the 2018 election but it did not win the majority, forcing Khan to form a coalition government with a thin majority.