Pakistan’s Imran Khan Ousted by Opposition in No-confidence Vote
[Islamabad] Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted early on Sunday after losing a no-confidence vote in the country’s parliament. The opposition coalition in the National Assembly overwhelmed the Imran Khan-led ruling government in the no-confidence resolution with 174 votes in the 342-member house.
Imran Khan is the first prime minister in the history of Pakistan to be successfully ousted by the opposition with a no-confidence motion. Such a move was brought against the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1989, but it failed.
Voting on the no-confidence motion against Khan began in the National Assembly session that began on Saturday night. The proceedings were chaired by National Assembly lawmaker and former speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. Parliament Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri resigned their posts ahead of the no-confidence vote against Khan. Both are among Khan’s die-hard supporters.
At least 172 votes are needed to form a government in the Assembly; meanwhile, 174 votes were cast in favor of the joint opposition’s confidence motion. It was the longest-ever session of the National Assembly, which began on Saturday and ended on Sunday early morning. The national assembly will choose a new leader of the house on Monday.
Khan did not attend the assembly session and was engaged in consultations in the Prime Minister’s House until the last moment. Upon hearing the news of the success of the movement, Khan drove to his private residence in Islamabad.
Earlier, during talks with senior journalists in Islamabad on Saturday, Khan said he would “fight till the last ball, ahead of the no-confidence vote and I have no intentions to disturb the assembly proceedings.” The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has 155 seats in the National Assembly. Khan formed a government with smaller parties, but during the motion of no confidence, most of these allies joined with the opposition.
The opposition coalition had filed a no-confidence motion against Khan in the National Assembly on March 8. National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri on April 3 dismissed the opposition parties’ motion of no-confidence against the prime minister and passed a ruling that the motion of no trust was the result of a foreign conspiracy and thus violated the constitutional requirement of loyalty to Pakistan. Also on March 3, President Arif Alvi dissolved parliament at Khan’s request.
The opposition filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the decision. After five consecutive days of hearings, the country‘s top court upheld the no-confidence motion against Khan and ordered that the no-confidence motion be decided by convening a meeting of the Assembly on Saturday.