Imran Khan's PTI to boycott Pak National Assembly session for election of new PM
Pakistan's parliament is set to meet to elect a new prime minister, with opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif the favourite to win.
Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) party on Monday decided to boycott the National Assembly session for the election of the new prime minister. Ahead of the National Assembly session, a meeting of the PTI parliamentary party was held at the Parliament House in Islamabad.
Pakistan's parliament is set to meet on Monday to elect a new prime minister, with opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif the favourite to win after a week-long constitutional crisis that climaxed on Sunday when Khan lost a no-confidence vote.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said all lawmakers of his party will resign en masse from the National Assembly.
“The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Parliamentary Committee has decided to resign from the National Assembly. Today, all members of the Assembly are submitting their resignations to the Speaker. We will fight for freedom,” he tweeted in Urdu.
In a video posted by PTI on its Twitter handle, Khan can be heard saying, “The man who has 16 billion and 8 billion rupees of corruption cases, whoever selects and elects the prime minister can not be a big insult to the country. We are resigning from the National Assembly.”
Khan was referring to Sharif. In 2019, the National Accountability Bureau had arrested Sharif and his son, Hamza Sharif, accusing them of money laundering.
Earlier, there were reports that PTI leaders were divided on the issue as some of them believed all lawmakers of the party and allies should resign immediately to bring the upcoming government, while others were of the opinion that the PTI and its allies should take opposition benches to resist any attempt to change elections laws, particularly regarding the use of electronic voting machines and voting rights to overseas Pakistanis, for the next general elections.
On Sunday, the PTI party had submitted papers nominating former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi as its candidate for prime minister.
No elected prime minister has completed a full term in the nuclear-armed nation since it won independence from colonial power Great Britain in 1947, though Khan is the first to be removed by a no-confidence vote.
The military has ruled the country of 220 million people for almost half its nearly 75-year history. It viewed Khan and his conservative agenda favourably when he won the election in 2018.
But that support waned after a falling-out over the appointment of a military intelligence chief and economic troubles that last week led to the largest interest rate rise in decades.
Khan remained defiant following his defeat in parliament.