Islamabad: Pakistan’s parliament will meet on Monday to vote for a new prime minister after Imran Khan was ousted from power in a no-confidence vote held past midnight on April 10 ending the political uncertainty that gripped the country for the past week.
Imran Khan became the first Pakistani prime minister to lose a no-confidence vote after opposition parties secured 174 votes in the 342-seat assembly in support of the no-confidence motion that the country’s Supreme Court had said must be held on Saturday.
The motion was first brought last week but Khan’s government blocked it and dissolved the parliament. The court termed the moves “unconstitutional” and restored the parliament.
Khan’s ouster begins new dawn: Sharif
Opposition leader and president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, Shehbaz Sharif. “A new dawn has started … This alliance will rebuild Pakistan,” he said in the parliament after Khan lost the vote of confidence after several delays in voting by the government. The opposition blamed the former prime minister for allegedly mismanaging Pakistan’s economic and foreign policy.
Sharif submitted his nomination to be Pakistan’s next prime minister. He has served as Punjab’s chief minister three times. He is the younger brother of three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted and indicted over corruption allegations by the court.
Khan’s party members mulling resignation
After the voting and losing the government, members of former prime minister Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that they were considering en masse resignations from the assembly in an attempt to pressurise the incoming government to hold fresh elections. PTI leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry jeered the opponent parties saying “it was unfortunate that Shehbaz would be contesting the election for the post of prime minister on the same day he is to be indicted in a money laundering case.”
Shehbaz and his son Hamza Shehbaz were likely to be indicted in an Rs14 billion money laundering case on April 11. However, local media reported that the cases would not be pursued now that Shehbaz submitted nomination papers for the post of prime minister.
Protest in support of Khan
Khan’s supporters are expected to take to the streets on Sunday evening as they accused that the new government is part of a “foreign conspiracy of regime change.” During the last week, Khan repeatedly claimed that there was a US-led conspiracy to remove him because his government was pursuing an independent foreign policy.
In a tweet on Sunday, Khan said: “Pakistan became an independent state in 1947 but the freedom struggle begins again today against a foreign conspiracy of regime change. It is always the people of the country who defend their sovereignty and democracy.”
No prime minister has completed a full five-year tenure in Pakistan’s history. Imran Khan’s tenure lasted three years and seven months. The military has ruled Pakistan for 33 of the country’s 75-year history.