Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from office last night after losing a no-confidence vote following a a 13-hour drama, becoming the first elected leader in the country’s history to be removed by parliament.
A total of 174 lawmakers from a united opposition voted against the premier, above the 172 required to remove the 69-year-old former cricket star from office, said opposition lawmaker Ayaz Sadiq, who presided over the parliament session as the ruling party’s speaker, Asad Qaiser, and deputy speaker both resigned shortly before the vote.
As soon as Qaiser announced his resignation, most of the treasury members stood up and exited the House, giving the Opposition a clear majority even before a vote was cast.
A new morning is beginning, Sharif says
The stage is now set for the opposition to elect Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader, Shehbaz Sharif, as the leader of the house and prime minister-elect to rule the South Asian nation until parliament’s term ends in August 2023.
“A new morning is beginning, a new day is about to start,” Sharif told lawmakers after the results were declared. “The prayers of millions of Pakistanis have been heard.”
Khan’s party had caused multiple adjournments through the day to delay the no-confidence motion by repeating his claims of a foreign conspiracy to oust his government. Voting finally started just after midnight and Khan was not present when Sadiq announced the results.
Khan’s exit was preceded by his own allies leaving his side as the opposition blamed him for mismanaging the country — ranging from the economy to foreign policy. The opposition is led by former premier Nawaz Sharif, the brother of Shehbaz Sharif, and the Pakistan Peoples Party, led jointly by ex-President Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
The vote follows a week of high drama in Pakistan, that was resolved when the Supreme Court on Thursday intervened to void Khan’s move to call off an earlier no-confidence vote, dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections.
Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was voted in by millions who grew up watching him play cricket, where he excelled as an allrounder and captained Pakistan to World Cup victory in 1992.