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Pakistani Supreme Court restores parliament, calls for no-confidence vote

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Pakistan's Supreme Court restored the country's National Assembly on Thursday and called for a new no-confidence vote to be held against Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday. File Photo by Shahzaib Akber/EPA-EFE
Pakistan's Supreme Court restored the country's National Assembly on Thursday and called for a new no-confidence vote to be held against Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday. File Photo by Shahzaib Akber/EPA-EFE

April 7 (UPI) -- Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday overturned Prime Minister Imran Khan's effort to dissolve the National Assembly, setting up a vote of no confidence that is expected to remove him from office.

The nation's high court voted 5-0 to reject Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri's move to shut down the no-confidence vote. The court also found that President Arif Alvi's decision to dissolve the National Assembly, the country's legislature, at Khan's direction were "contrary to the Constitution and the law and of no legal effect," calling for a new vote to be held on Saturday.

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"It is further declared that the Assembly was in existence at all times and continues to remain and be so," the court's order said.

Opposition supporters took to the street outside the Supreme Court building in Islamabad following the ruling while chanting "Long live the Constitution!" and "Go Imran Go!"

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Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, said the court's decision helped Pakistan maintain its independence.

"The court definitely fulfilled the people's expectations," he said.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Khan has convened a meeting of his Cabinet and top political committee in the National Assembly and also plans to address the nation Friday evening.

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A coalition of opposition parties last month called for a no-confidence vote and secured the votes needed to win but the deputy speaker blocked the vote on Sunday as Khan announced plans to dissolve the assembly.

Opposition lawmakers have been rallying for Khan to be removed since he was elected in 2018 amid accusations of vote-rigging.

Khan has alleged the effort to remove him as a U.S.-backed conspiracy and has called the lawmakers seeking his removal "traitors."

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