Day of reckoning for Imran Khan as no-confidence vote looms
Opposition warns prime minister against 'dodging' the vote again
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Embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan faced a no-confidence vote today which he tried his best to avoid but ultimately the National Assembly will be in session to decide his fate, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
With the opposition requesting the assembly secretariat for 220 seats to accommodate their members, the former international cricket star who became prime minister after 2018 general elections is certain to lose a no-confidence vote following the defection of a coalition partner, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and several of his own party members.
In a nationwide address hours before the no-trust vote, Imran Khan had said he accepted the Supreme Court ruling that will likely see him ousted from office, but insisted he was victim of a "regime change" conspiracy involving the United States.
The National Assembly session was ordered by the Supreme Court Thursday when ruling that Imran Khan acted illegally by dissolving the assembly and calling fresh elections after National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri refused to allow an earlier no-confidence vote because of "foreign interference".
National Assembly agenda
In compliance with the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s order, the National Assembly session has been convened at 10:30am today. A notification in this regard was issued by the assembly secretariat on Friday.
It has been learnt that voting on opposition’s no-confidence motion is part of the six-point agenda. Besides no-trust move, the other items on the agenda included question answer session, call attention notice and point of order.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said if they try yet again to sabotage constitutional process of vote of no confidence, then it will be the second time the constitution will be violated.
Tomorrow if they try yet again to sabotage Democratic constitutional process of vote of no confidence. It will be the second time the constitution will be violate. So PM, president, speaker & deputy speaker will not only be liable to under article 6 twice but also contempt. https://t.co/hNHNsJFOuk— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) April 8, 2022
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb had warned Prime Minister Imran Khan against contempt of court, saying the government lost its mental balance and Imran Khan including the ministers became “suicide bombers”.
Marriyum said that according to the court order, the no-confidence motion will be voted in the National Assembly Saturday, adding that if voting will be stopped or obstructed again, it would be contempt of court.
Marriyum further said that the Supreme Court had issued a clear order and the PTI-led government should not force the public officials and government employees to contempt of court.
Saturday's confidence vote comes after opposition lawmakers put forward a no-confidence motion to the National Assembly last Sunday, in a bid to oust Imran Khan from power. But the deputy speaker swiftly blocked the vote, saying it showed "foreign interference". Qasim Suri also said that it went against the constitution, which calls for loyalty to the state.
Imran Khan's government went on to dissolve parliament and called for a snap election to be held.
This made several opposition members furious, with some accusing the prime minister of "treason" for blocking the vote.
Opposition figures submitted a petition to the Supreme Court to assess the situation.
On Thursday, the apex court ruled that Imran Khan's decision to stop the vote from going ahead was unconstitutional. It ordered that the no-confidence vote should go ahead again on Saturday, April 9, today.
The expectation is that the former international cricket star, will lose Saturday's no-confidence vote. In the event that Imran Khan is ousted from power, the opposition parties will appoint a new prime minister who can hold power until October 2023, when a new election is scheduled to be held.
PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif, brother of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif and likely to replace Imran Khan, said the decision "has saved Pakistan and the constitution".
"Democracy is the best revenge", tweeted PPP leader Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, the scion of another political dynasty.
A successful vote could also pave the way for a comeback by PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, who has not returned from Britain since being allowed to leave jail in 2019 to seek medical treatment abroad.
He was barred by the Supreme Court from holding public office after graft revelations, and sentenced to 10 years in prison by an accountability court.