The voting on the opposition’s no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan will take place on the coming Sunday (April 3) after the opposition, irked by the adjournment of the National Assembly session earlier in the day within minutes after it began, accused him of trying to escape the resolution.
“On coming Sunday, it will be decided in which direction this country will go,” the premier said during a live address to the nation on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the PTI-led government “literally ran away from conducting voting on the no-confidence motion” submitted against PM Imran as the National Assembly session was once again put off till April 3.
Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri adjourned the proceedings after seeing the strength of the opposition parties’ lawmakers, who repeatedly asked him to hold voting on the motion instead of proceeding ahead with Q&A session.
One after the other, the opposition members, whose questions were taken up, told the deputy speaker that they were not interested in seeking answers from the treasury benches and Suri should go for voting on the motion.
The first sign of the opposition’s strength was visible when it defeated Adviser to the PM 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 opposition leaders, they managed to convince the deputy speaker to opt for a voice vote. After seeing that the opposition parties had more members present in the House than the treasury benches, he didn’t “bother to go for a vote count”, they added.
Interestingly, the treasury lawmakers left the hall immediately but the opposition parties stayed in the House for a while and chanted slogans including “Go Niazi Go” for a few minutes. Later, they left the lower house of parliament.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, who is also the leader of the opposition in the NA, later told reporters that the joint opposition had defeated PM Imran. “It [joint opposition] has proved that the PTI-led government has lost its majority in the House,” he added, while interacting with the media accompanied by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and other opposition leaders. Shehbaz claimed that the deputy speaker had “violated” the Constitution by not holding a vote on the no-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 the no-trust motion.”
He said PM Imran could no longer remain in the office as he had been “defeated morally, constitutionally and legally”.
Speaking on the occasion, Bilawal said the opposition had proved that it had the majority in the lower house of the parliament “by producing 175” MNAs.
He added that PM Imran had run out of options.
“The only safe passage [for him] is to resign from the post,” the PPP chairman said, while calling upon the premier to stop “damaging” the country’s foreign policy to save his government.
Shehbaz termed the ‘threat letter’ a “fraud”, saying there was nothing unusual about the diplomatic cable.
BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal said the united opposition had shown its majority and it was in front of everyone.
“The Kaptaan [PM Imran] is absent from day one,” he added.
“The Constitution is considered a joke and the legislature a comedy theatre.”
Earlier on his arrival at the Parliament House, PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, while responding to a query, said he did not need to see the ‘threat letter’ as it was ‘fake’.
The former president, who was accompanied by his daughter Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari, added that PM Imran and his mandate were “fake” as well.
“The only honourable way left for him [Pm Imran] is to resign so that Shehbaz Sharif can take over as the prime minister.”