Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan wins trust vote
akistan Prime Minister Imran Khan handily won a vote of confidence from the National Assembly on Saturday, days after the embarrassing defeat of his ruling party’s key candidate in Senate elections.
Khan secured the votes of 178 members of the lower house of parliament, which is comprised of 340 lawmakers. The 11-party opposition alliance — the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) —boycotted the assembly’s special session.
Khan needed 172 votes to show a simple majority and dispel any suggestion he had lost the support of the majority of lawmakers in the National Assembly. In the National Assembly, the ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf Party has the support of 180 members, including 157 members from Khan’s party and 20 members from allied parties and two independents.
The need for the confidence vote arose after former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Senate elections on Wednesday defeated Hafeez Sheikh, the finance minister in Khan’s cabinet. The Senate vote was seen as a test for Khan, who came to power in the 2018 parliamentary elections. It boosted the number of Senate seats for the opposition, which has a slight, 53-47 majority over Khan and wants Khan to step down.
Responding to the opposition demand, Khan decided to seek the vote of confidence.
Addressing the House after securing the trust vote, the 68-year-old cricketer-turned politician thanked all lawmakers from his party and allies for supporting him.
Top opposition leaders, however, demanded Khan’s resignation and holding of fresh elections. PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Peoples Party leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the vote of confidence has no meaning.
“This was not a confidence vote. We know which agencies watched the members of the assembly the entire night. [We know] who knocked on the doors of each member to ensure they were present,” Rehman said.
His was referring to reports that said the government kept its members in lodges in Islamabad under strict watch so that all of them were present in parliament during the floor test.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz said Khan’s days as prime minister were numbered.