No-trust vote: Political crisis explained

Prime Minister Imran Khan faces no-confidence motion by opposition parties on Saturday

Reuters April 08, 2022
Prime Minister Imran Khan. PHOTO: TWITTER/PTI


Pakistan, in its 75 years of independence, never went through a period of complete political peace. While there have been military coups, no prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term.

The country has been going through turmoil again as Prime Minister Imran Khan faces a parliamentary no-confidence motion by the opposition.

When Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party rose to power in 2018, he promised a "Naya," or new Pakistan, assuring his supporters to fight corruption, bolster the crippling economy and pursue an independent foreign policy.

Read more: Cabinet okays commission to probe ‘foreign conspiracy’

But, critics say, he failed to keep his promises, and the opposition gained momentum to bring down his government.

Taking advantage of the situation, the opposition, led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), got together and on March 8 filed a no-confidence motion against him in the National Assembly.

A simple majority of 172 in the lower house of 342 is needed to hold power.

But Imran Khan lost support of at least more than a dozen legislators from his own party, and key allies such as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

Motion dismissed

The vote, scheduled for April 3, was dismissed by Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, on the day of the session, who said it was in violation of the constitution and was brought forward at the behest of foreign powers.

Also read: Constitution reigns supreme

Soon after the ruling, PM Imran advised President Arif Alvi to dissolve the National Assembly and called for new elections. Hence, the cabinet stood dissolved, but Imran Khan was asked to continue as prime minister.

Supreme Court approached

But the opposition cried foul and petitioned the Supreme Court against the ruling, saying it was unconstitutional.

After hearing arguments from both sides for five days, the top court on Thursday evening set aside the deputy speaker's ruling, restored the assembly, and called for holding the vote of no-confidence by Saturday morning.

'Fight for Pakistan till the last ball'

Imran Khan, a former cricketer, soon after the court's short order, tweeted that he will continue to struggle for Pakistan, using the cricket analogy of fighting "till the last ball."

He has summoned a session of the freshly restored federal cabinet on Friday, and will also address the nation later in the evening.


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