Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial Tuesday said the Supreme Court will not interfere in state and foreign policy matters and will only determine the legality of National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri’s ruling on the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan. This observation from the country’s top judge came during the hearing of arguments from PML-N’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan on the dismissal of no-confidence motion against the prime minister. Suri linked the motion to a “foreign conspiracy” to topple the PTI government and ruled that the motion was contradictory to Article 5 of the Constitution. Subsequently, the CJP took suo motu notice of the matter after which a larger bench was formed to hear the case. The five-member bench is headed by the CJP and comprises Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail as members. During the hearing, when the chief justice said the court would not interfere in policy matters and would focus on the deputy speaker’s ruling, the PML-N’s counsel proposed that the apex court may seek an “in-camera briefing about the foreign conspiracy from the intelligence chief”. “Right now we are looking at the law and Constitution,” the CJP replied, adding that all the respondents would be told to focus on this matter at the moment. “We prefer that a decision be taken on this matter only,” CJP Bandial said. “We want to see if the court can review the ruling of the deputy speaker.” The court, he added, didn’t interfere in the state or foreign policy. “We don’t want to indulge in policy matters.” Justice Ahsan, too, said that the court only wanted to see constitutional matters for now. The PML-N’s counsel, however, argued that the court could judicially review an illegal and unconstitutional move. Justice Akhtar said the NA and provincial assembly were masters of their respective houses. Distribution of powers was also enshrined in the constitution, the judge added. “We have referred to six court verdicts that clarify the jurisdiction of Article 69,” Khan said, adding that the speaker confirmed the deputy speaker’s ruling. He also questioned the transfer of power from the speaker to the deputy speaker. Justice Ahsan said Naeem Bukhari, the counsel for NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, would aid the court on the matter. The court adjourned the hearing till 11:30am on Wednesday (tomorrow). Earlier, the court sought the record of NA proceedings conducted on the no-confidence motion filed against interim PM Imran At the outset of hearing, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani noted how, according to media reports, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had said it was not possible to hold general elections within three months. However, the ECP denied issuing any statement concerning elections. He also said that the court had to examine the extent of the “immunity” of parliamentary proceedings. “Whatever has happened can only be termed as civilian martial law,” he said. “The no-confidence motion can’t be dismissed without voting on it,” he said, citing Article 95 of the Constitution. Rabbani also said a deliberate attempt was made to construct a narrative against the no-trust move while a foreign conspiracy was also touted. He said that the NA session held on March 21 was adjourned after offering prayers for a deceased lawmaker, adding that this had not happened in the past. The senator said that Fawad Chaudhry, speaking on a point of order during Sunday’s session, had talked about the letter and the foreign conspiracy even though it was not on the day’s agenda. He also maintained that it was wrong of Suri to term opposition lawmakers traitors without providing any evidence. A no-confidence motion was also submitted against Asad Qaiser which limits the power of the speaker, he said, adding that assemblies could not be dissolved during the no-confidence process. He urged the court to dismiss the deputy speaker’s ruling and to restore the National Assembly, adding that the minutes of the National Security Committee and the ‘threat letter’ should also be presented. After Rabbani, PML-N’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan presented his arguments. He began by stating that the no-confidence motion was submitted to the NA with the signatures of 152 lawmakers while 161 had voted in favour of tabling it. “After that, proceedings were adjourned till March 31.” As per the rules, the counsel pointed out, a debate on the no-trust move was supposed to be conducted on March 31. “But a debate was not held,” he said, adding that voting was also not conducted on April 3. He noted that according to the no-confidence motion, the prime minister had lost the confidence of the majority of the National Assembly. “Shehbaz Sharif had submitted the motion as per the rules of business,” he said, adding that the NA session was adjourned till April 3 without conducting any proceedings, he said. The PML-N’s counsel also said that the deputy speaker did not give the opposition a chance to speak during the session held on April 3 and gave the floor to the former information minister. At that, Justice Akhtar said that the process of the no-confidence motion was underlined in the rules of procedure, not the Constitution. However, Khan argued that rules were formed on the basis of the Constitution. Continuing his argument, the PML-N lawyer said the no-confidence motion can’t be dismissed by the speaker once it is tabled in the NA. At one point, the CJP asked whether a debate was held on the no-confidence move, to which the PML-N lawyer replied that it was not. Justice Bandial also asked whether majority of lawmakers were present in Parliament when the no-confidence resolution against the prime minister was tabled, noting that it required the support of 20pc of the lawmakers. He observed that constitutional provisions cannot be trampled through rules. Justice Mandokhail added that the real question was whether the deputy speaker’s ruling was legal or illegal.