Imran Khan on hot wire after minister quits and BAP joins opposition
While the political play is on in Islamabad, it is ultimately the Pakistan Army which will decide whether Imran Khan stays or gets the boot.
A cabinet member of Imran Khan's government has resigned, hours after a no-confidence motion was tabled in the Pakistan National Assembly. Tariq Basheer Cheema, the federal minister for housing, is a PML-Q member from Bahawalpur. The lawmaker has announced his decision to vote for the opposition's no-confidence motion.
Earlier in the day, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) announced PML-Q leader Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi as the Punjab chief ministerial candidate, leading to the resignation of incumbent CM Usman Buzdar who had faced a no-confidence motion. According to Pakistan media reports, Imran Khan's special assistant on political communication claimed that the PML-Q had assured support to back the government.
With one member defecting to the opposition, PML-Q has now four members which according to the PTI will support the government. In the 342-member Pakistan National Assembly, the opposition parties including PML-N, Pakistan People's Party enjoy support of 163 members. With the Balochistan Awami Party declaring support to the opposition, the strength goes up to 168, just four votes less than the required numbers to unseat the Imran Khan government.
Now, all eyes are on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement which has seven members in the Assembly. In case it votes for the opposition, Imran Khan's government will be defeated.
With the no-confidence motion already tabled, the voting must take place after third day and before the seventh day. According to the constitution of Pakistan, the prime minister can't dissolve the house and order fresh elections.
Imran Khan has reiterated several times that he won't resign and will continue to fight till the last ball. During a rally at Islamabad's Parade Ground on Sunday, the 69-year-old politician alleged a foreign conspiracy behind efforts to topple his government.