Prime Minister Imran Khan won the confidence of the National Assembly after 178 out of 342 lawmakers expressed their trust in his leadership.
He took a confidence vote on Saturday to know if the country’s MNAs trust him or not.
“One hundred and seventy-eight members regarded their votes in favour of the resolution which has been passed now,” Speaker Asad Qaisar said. ” “Consequently Imran Khan has obtained the vote of confidence from the members of the National Assembly.”
Qaisar also said that PM Khan had received 176 votes when he was elected PM after the 2018 General Election.
The PM decided to hold a confidence poll after PTI’s candidate Abdul Hafeez Shaikh lost the Islamabad Senate seat to PDM’s Yousaf Raza Gillani by a difference of five votes. The feat was interesting because PTI’s Fozia Arshad who also contested for the Islamabad seat received 174 votes against PML-N’s Farzana Kausar.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi presents motion
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tabled the confidence motion during a special session of the National Assembly.
“Mr. Speaker with your permission, I beg to move that this House reposes confidence in the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan as required under Clause 7 of Article 91 of the Constitution,” said Qureshi.
The premier required the support of 171 members—ideally it would be 172 members but Sialkot’s NA-75 seat is not being counted as the Election Commission has ordered re-polling there. The idea was simple: those who trust Imran Khan will vote in his favour.
The PTI and its allies make up 180 members, while the opposition has 160 members.
It is being reported that MNA Faisal Vawda, who resigned after casting vote in the Senate election, may be able to cast his vote as Parliament has not de-seated him yet.
Speaker Asad Qaiser explained that the voting shall be recorded in accordance with the procedure given in the second schedule of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.
It will start with bells ringing for five minutes to tell all the members not present in the chambers to come for the vote. After this, all entrances leading to the lobby will be closed and no one will be allowed to enter or exit until the voting has been completed.
The speaker will then read the resolution and those MNAs to wish to vote in favour of the motion will queue up outside the entrance where tellers are posted.
Upon reaching the teller’s desk, each member shall call out the division number alloted to them. The teller will mark the division list and say the name of the MNA. The lawmakers should not move till they hear their name.
After the vote has been cast, the MNAs should exit the chamber and they will not be allowed to enter till the voting process has been completed. They can re-enter once the bells ring again.
Opposition announces boycott
The opposition parties have, however, announced that they will boycott the National Assembly’s session.
“We will not let Imran Khan continue his corrupt practices,” said PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal while speaking to the media at D-Chowk. We will send these PTI supporters back home, he said.
They don’t know that PML-N supporters are lions and we will defeat them, said former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. “We will throw you out of Parliament. You can’t suppress the voice of justice.”
While speaking to the media on Friday, Pakistan Democratic Movement’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that that the session will hold no value if the opposition members don’t attend it. He asked how is Imran Khan seeking a vote of confidence from the same parliamentarians he accused of taking bribes.
Vote of confidence: A brief history
This will be the second time a Pakistani prime minister has taken a vote of confidence from parliament.
Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had taken a confidence vote on May 27, 1993 to see if he still has the support of parliamentarians after the Supreme Court overturned his dismissal by former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
At least 123 out of 200 MNAs voted in Nawaz’s favour. He secured enough votes to remain in power but the number had gone down from 1990 when 153 MNAs had shown trust in his leadership. Those who didn’t vote for him included members of the JI and MQM, while the PPP had boycotted the session.
According to SAMAA TV Islamabad bureau chief Khalid Azim Chaudhry, it was once a requirement under the law for all PMs to take a vote of confidence from the National Assembly within 60 days after taking the oath.
The law was changed after the 18th Amendment was passed. Under it, the following former PMs took the vote from the assembly:
- Muhammad Khan Junejo
- Nawaz Sharif
- Benazir Bhutto
- Zafarullah Khan Jamali
- Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
- Shaukat Aziz
- Yousaf Raza Gillani