Explained: Pakistan's political turmoil as Imran Khan faces ‘no-trust motion'

Updated on Mar 18, 2022 05:14 PM IST

The National Assembly session for the move is expected to be convened on March 21 and the voting is likely to be held on March 28.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Written by Shivani Kumar | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, who came to power in the cash-strapped country in 2018 as a 'stable' alternative to the corruption-marred government of Nawaz Sharif, now faces the prospect of being booted out if he fails a no-confidence vote likely later this month. Opposition to the former cricketer has rallied under the banner of the Pakistan Democratic Movement - a political movement looking out unseat Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led administration on charges of economic mismanagement and poor foreign policy.

In a fresh blow to the embattled leader on Thursday, 24 disgruntled lawmakers from his party have openly threatened to vote against him. The National Assembly session for the move is expected to be convened on March 21 and the voting is likely to be held on March 28.

The no-confidence motion

On March 8, arond 100 lawmakers from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) signed and submitted this motion. They alleged Khan's government was responsible for the economic crisis and spiralling inflation.

Who is in the opposition

The Pakistan Democratic Movement consists of major parties like the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of former prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto. The PDM also includes the Awami National Party and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam faction led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

More worryingly for Khan, the 'opposition' now includes members of his own party.

According to news agency PTI, Raja Riaz, one of the lawmakers who threatened to vote against the prime minister, told Geo News Khan had failed to control inflation. Noor Alam Khan reportedly told Samaa News of multiple grievances not addressed by the government.

The numbers game

In the 342-member assembly, the opposition needs 272 votes to remove Imran Khan.

The PTI has 155 members and needs at least 172 on its side to remain in power. The party also has the support of 23 members belonging to at least six different parties, PTI reported.

Opposition leaders contend the PDM has the support of around 160 lawmakers as well as the backing of 40 MPs, including dissidents from the PTI – more than the magic number.

What went wrong for Imran Khan

Critics of Khan, 69, say he has fallen out with the country's powerful military, whose support is critical for any party to attain, and remain in, power in the way the PTI did four years ago.

However, speculation on this front has been denied by both Khan and the military.

Pakistan is not scheduled to hold a general election till 2023.

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