Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan won the trust of the parliament by securing 178 votes from the National Assembly in a crucial and tense atmosphere in Islamabad on Saturday.
The premier needed at least 172 votes to win the confidence of the 342-member house but secured 178 votes, the National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser announced.
The win comes as the opposition claimed that the prime minister had lost the confidence of the majority. The 10-party alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) boycotted the session but gathered outside the parliament house in a show of strength.
A large number of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters, mostly young members, also assembled near the parliament to show support for PM Imran Khan and criticize the opposition’s alleged horse-trading in the Senate polls.
Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a bold decision and called the special session to seek a vote of confidence to win credibility after the Senate elections setback to the government. The joint opposition alliance candidate Yousaf Raza Gillani stunned the PTI government with an unexpected victory against the ruling party’s candidate Hafeez Shaikh in the Senate polls.
Pakistani premier decided to seek the confidence vote from the parliament as the opposition indicated to move a no-confidence motion in the national assembly to oust Khan’s government. The opposition alliance demanded the premier’s resignation and fresh elections following the elections of the upper house of the parliament.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that that Gilani’s win over PTI’s candidate proved that the prime minister had lost the confidence of the National Assembly and that it was “too late” for any attempts to save the government now
Two days ago, in a hard-hitting speech, PM Imran Khan vowed to continue his struggle against corruption and to ensure rule of law in Pakistan regardless of the fact that he remains in power or has to sit in the opposition. He also pledged to not compromise on corruption cases of opposition leaders. The prime minister also criticized the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not ensuring the transparency in the Senate elections and hence “discrediting the country’s democracy” in the process.
Why is vote of confidence needed?
The prime minister sought the confidence vote from the parliament under the Article 91(7) of constitution that reads “prime minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the president, but the president shall not exercise his powers under this clause unless he is satisfied that the prime minister does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the National Assembly, in which case he shall summon the National Assembly and require the prime minister to obtain a vote of confidence from the assembly.”