Pakistan: National Assembly session begins; no-confidence vote fourth on agenda
The National Assembly of Pakistan convened on Saturday for a crucial session during which Prime Minister Imran Khan's government will face a no-confidence vote. As per reports, the voting on the no-trust motion is the fourth item on the Assembly's agenda for Saturday. If Khan loses, he will become the first Pakistani prime minister to be removed through a no-confidence vote.
- Khan is facing a no-confidence vote after Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the dismissal of the no-trust motion by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri and reconstituted the National Assembly.
- The court also termed the prime minister's move to dissolve the Assembly and call for early elections on Sunday "unconstitutional."
- Notably, Khan had advised President Arif Alvi to dissolve the Assembly and sought fresh elections.
To note, Khan has already lost the majority in the lower house after his government's coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan withdrew its support. Moreover, over a dozen lawmakers from Khan's ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party have also indicated that they would cross over. The Opposition claimed it has the support of over 172 lawmakers in the 342-seat National Assembly to oust Khan through the vote.
The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif, on Saturday asked the speaker to conduct the session as per the SC's order. He further claimed the Opposition will expel the "selected" prime minister through a lawful and constitutional procedure. Meanwhile, Speaker Asad Qaiser suggested the Assembly should hold a discussion on the "foreign conspiracy" against Khan's government—which the Opposition rejected outrightly.
Meanwhile, PM Khan seemed to have accepted the "writing on the wall" as he urged his supporters on Friday to hit the streets on Sunday to protest what he described as the "new imported government" in his address to the nation. However, he continued to blame foreign powers for the country's political crisis by calling it a conspiracy by them to topple his government.
PM Khan further said foreign powers want a "pliable" prime minister in Pakistan and that is why they are trying to remove him. "We are 22 crore people. It is insulting that someone from outside is ordering this to 22 crore people (sic)," he added.