No-Confidence Motion Tabled Against Imran Khan Govt in Pakistan National Assembly; Discussion on March 31
Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif presented the no-trust motion against Khan, Pakistani media reported.
Islamabad: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is facing the biggest political crisis of his career as the opposition on Monday tabled a no-confidence resolution against him in the National Assembly to bring down his government, which has ruled the country since August 2018. Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif presented the no-trust motion against Khan, Pakistani media reported.
After the much-anticipated session began after a two-day recess, voting was held to ascertain if the resolution should be accepted. Following the counting of the votes, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri announced that 161 lawmakers had voted in favour of tabling the resolution and hence, the “permission is granted to present the no-confidence resolution”, newspaper Dawn reported.
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Following the tabling of the resolution, the deputy speaker adjourned the session until 4pm on March 31 and announced that debate on the it would begin in the next Assembly will meet again.
Why The No Confidence Motion Was Delayed
The no confidence resolution was earlier expected to be tabled on Friday, but the proceedings were deferred after National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had adjourned the sitting within minutes after offering prayers for the deceased Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker from Hangu, Khayal Zaman, ignoring Opposition’s call seeking tabling of the motion.
However, even Friday’s session was summoned three days after the expiry of the constitutionally mandatory 14-day deadline for the session to begin, with the opposition having submitted the no-confidence motion with the National Assembly Secretariat on March 8, the Dawn reported.
The rules of procedure in Pakistan dictate a session of the National Assembly can be requisitioned if at least 25 per cent of the members sign it, following which the speaker has a maximum of 14 days to summon a session. As per the rules, the speaker should have called the lower house in session by March 22, while voting on the no-confidence motion should take place between three and seven days after the session is summoned. However, the speaker had called the session on March 25, three days after the March 22 deadline.
Fate of the resolution by March 31
As per the law, the Opposition needs at least 172 votes for the no-trust move to succeed. After the decision of Shahzain Bugti of the Jamhoori Watan Party to quit the ruling coalition on Sunday, the number of treasury members has now reduced to 178 in the 342-member lower house of the parliament, whereas the opposition now enjoys the support of 163 lawmakers, according to the Dawn report.
The PML-Q, the Balochistan Awami Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, the three major allies of Imran Khan’s PTI collectively have 17 lawmakers. The three parties are yet to decide which side they are on and are still negotiating with both the government and opposition parties.
Besides, over a dozen PTI dissident MNAs reportedly have already come into the open with their criticism on the government policies, indicating that they might support the opposition’s no-trust motion even at the cost of being disqualified as National Assembly members.
However, some of the lawmakers have denied defection after they were issued show-cause notices by the party, making their alliance unclear.