Prime Minister Imran Khan was not present in the assembly during the no-confidence motion. He also vacated the official residence of the Prime Minister minutes after losing the majority.
New Delhi: After a high-octane midnight drama, the Imran Khan-led government of Pakistan lost the no-trust vote in the national Assembly as the united Opposition secured 174 votes out of the total 342 members. With this, Khan became the first Prime Minister of Pakistan who was removed from his post by a no-trust motion.
Shehbaz Sharif, a likely leader to be sworn in as next Prime Minister, appreciated the Opposition parties for ousting the government. “It is not a routine affair in Pakistan. Now the country will follow the path of honesty and legality. We are here for a bright future for the country and we will not act with vendetta against anyone. We will not jail anyone innocent. Law will take its course,” said Sharif.
As Khan stayed defiant till the last hours, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the national Assembly submitted their resignations moments before the no-trust motion and the House elected a new Speaker from the united Opposition to conduct the further proceedings. Members of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) also walked out from the floor of the House before the voting commenced and only the Opposition members, fighting under one banner, took part in the voting process.
Khan too wasn’t present in the Assembly during the motion. He also vacated the official residence of the Prime Minister minutes after losing the majority.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Bilawal Bhutto congratulated people of the country for standing united against the Imran Khan government. Taking a jibe at Imran Khan’s naya (new) Pakistan statement, he said, “We welcome purana (old) Pakistan.”
Bhutto’s party tweeted, “Chairman PPP @BBhuttoZardari congratulates over historic success of #NoconfidenceVote tonight and recalls on 10th April, this House had approved the Constitution of Pakistan and on the same date, 10th April #SMBB had landed in Lahore by ending her exile during Zia’s dictatorship.”
Meanwhile, a high voltage drama was witnessed in Islamabad ahead of the no-trust vote on Saturday. Khan, after the cabinet meeting, announced to not resign from his post. He also asked the people to stage peaceful protests against the “conspiracy”. Security was tightened in Islamabad and senior functionaries swung into action. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker quit their chairs minutes before the Supreme Court’s deadline for the voting. A prisoner van was stationed at Assembly premises with the speculation of their arrest if voting was not conducted within the deadline. With anticipation of the midnight hearing, both the Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court were kept opened.
Khan’s party also filed a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging its decision to conduct a no-trust vote. The petition, however, is yet to be filed since the officers of the court did not process it on receipt as they close early during Ramzan.
On Friday, Khan had urged the people to organise peaceful protests by hitting the streets on Sunday. Khan, while addressing the nation hours before the no-trust motion moved by the Opposition parties against his government, said that people must protect the sovereignty of the country.
Khan had said that there is information that US diplomats have met the Opposition leaders and he is aware of their strategy. “The Opposition, hand in gloves with foreign forces, is making efforts to throw me out from the chair as they want a pliable man for the top job. In such situations, no superpower can intimidate India and they (Indians) are very proud of themselves. India is a sovereign country,” he had said.
Khan had said that the people must protest against an “imported government” as foreign forces are actively involved in getting his government toppled. He had said that not even ‘Banana Republics’ let such situations happen openly. He also blasted the Opposition leaders for indulging in horse trading. “Politicians are being bought and sold like sheep,” Khan had added.