Pakistan PM Imran Khan loses trust vote in National Assembly

Khan is the first premier whose fate was decided through a trust vote.
Imran Khan in this file photo
Imran Khan in this file photo

Islamabad, Apr 9: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan lost a crucial trust vote in the National Assembly past midnight on Saturday, becoming the first premier in the country's history to be removed through a no-confidence motion.

Khan, 69, was not present in the lower house at the time of voting. His party lawmakers staged a walkout.

The joint Opposition - a rainbow of socialist, liberal and radically religious parties - secured the support of 174 members in the 342-member National Assembly, more than the needed strength of 172 to oust the prime minister on a day full of drama and multiple adjournments of the lower house.

No prime minister in Pakistan's history was ever ousted through a no-confidence motion. Khan is the first premier whose fate was decided through a trust vote.

Also, no Pakistani prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term in office.

The opposition had filed the no-confidence motion on March 8, setting a set of events leading to the day of voting and rise in the tension due to Khan's insistence that he was being targeted as part of a foreign conspiracy with the collaboration of top opposition leaders.

Khan, who came to power in 2018 with promises to create a Naya Pakistan', was dogged by claims of economic mismanagement as his government battled depleting foreign exchange reserves and double-digit inflation.

He apparently also lost support of the powerful Army after he refused to endorse the appointment of the ISI spy agency chief last year. Finally he agreed but it soured his ties with the powerful Army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75 years of existence and has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.

Khan wanted to keep Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as the spy chief but the army high command transferred him by appointing Corps Commander in Peshawar.

Ahead of the voting, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri resigned.

Qaiser said he could not take part in a foreign conspiracy to oust the prime minister.

After announcing his resignation, Speaker asked Ayaz Sadiq of PML-N to chair the proceedings.

Voting on the resolution then began at 11:58pm (local time). Sadiq adjourned the house for two minutes due to the change of day at 12. The new session then began at 12:02am.

Earlier, the crucial session convened in line with a landmark Supreme Court ruling to decide the fate of Prime Minister Khan witnessed multiple adjournments and heated arguments.

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