The PTI-led government “literally ran away from conducting voting on the no-confidence motion” submitted against Prime Minister Imran Khan as the National Assembly session was once again put off till Sunday (April 3).
Seeing the strength of the opposition parties’ lawmakers, who repeatedly asked Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri to hold voting on the motion instead of proceeding ahead with Q&A session.
One after the other member of the opposition, whose questions were taken up, told the deputy speaker that they were not interested in seeking answers from the treasury benches and the deputy speaker should go for voting on the motion.
According to the schedule issued on Wednesday by the NA Secretariat, the resolution submitted by Shehbaz Sharif, the PML-N president and Leader of the Opposition in NA, for a discussion on the no-trust motion against Premier Imran is on the list of agendas for the day.
“Through this resolution under clause (1) of Article 95 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, this House resolves that it has no-confidence in the Prime Minister, Mr Imran Khan, and consequently he should cease to hold office under clause (4),” it read.
The first sign of the opposition’s strength was visible when it defeated the adviser on parliamentary affairs Babar Awan’s request that the National Assembly hall be allowed to be used for holding a meeting of the National Security Committee.
Accordingly to the opposition leaders, they managed to convince the deputy speaker through voice vote and seeing that the opposition parties had more members present in the house than the treasury benches, he didn’t “bother to go for vote count”.
Interestingly, the treasury lawmakers left the hall immediately but the opposition parties stayed in the house for a while and chanted slogans such as “go Niazi go” for a few minutes. Later, they left the lower house of parliament.
Opposition ‘proves majority’ in NA
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said that the joint opposition has defeated PM Imran as it proved that the PTI-led government has “lost” its majority in the house.
Speaking to the media flanked by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and other opposition leaders, Shehbaz said the deputy speaker “violated” the Constitution by not holding vote on-confidence motion.
“The entire nation and judiciary is seeing how PTI-led government is abrogating the Constitution… the joint opposition showed its strength in the National Assembly today… 172 MNAs asked deputy speaker to hold voting on trust motion,” he remarked.
He said PM Imran Khan can no longer remain in the office as he has been “defeated morally, constitutionally and legally”.
Speaking on the occasion, Bilawal said that the opposition has proved that it has majority in the lower house of the parliament “by producing 175” MNAs.
He said PM Imran has left with no option. “Only safe passage is to resign from the post,” said the PPP chairman while calling upon the premier to stop “damaging” country’s foreign policy to save his government.
Shehbaz, who is also Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, termed the ‘threatening letter’ a “fraud “, saying there is nothing unusual about the diplomatic cable.
The number game
The PTI is now left with 164 members in its favour, while 177 members are expected to vote against PM Imran – more numbers than required to pull off the premier’s ouster through the vote. Meanwhile, the lone Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) lawmaker will stay neutral in the no-trust vote. The ruling PTI has 155 members of its own which, counted along with the four members of PML-Q, three of GDA and one each of AML and BAP, translates into 164 members (and votes in favour).
Under the Constitution, a prime minister is elected by a majority of the lower house National Assembly, which has 342 members. A candidate needs a majority of legislators, 172, to vote for him to become prime minister.
On the other hand, a number of the ruling party’s allies and members have been siding with the opposition, strengthening its numbers.
In the event of the opposition winning the no-confidence vote, Prime Minister Imran will become the first head of the government in the country’s history to be sent home through the no-trust vote.
Other items on agenda
Other items include a call attention notice by MNA Faheem Khan to the defence minister on a matter of urgent public importance regarding “non-payment of salaries to the councillors in the cantonment boards of the country, causing grave concern amongst the public”.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan will introduce a bill to further amend the Elections Act, 2017 [The Elections (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022].
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid will lay before the National Assembly the National Database and Registration Authority (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 as required by clause (2) of Article 89.
The adviser to the prime minister on parliamentary affairs will lay before the House the Elections (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022 as required by clause (2) of Article 89.
The interior minister will move a resolution to extend the Islamabad Capital Territory Trust (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 for a further period of 120 starting from March 3, 2022.