No-confidence motion against Imran Khan tabled in Pak National Assembly

A no-confidence motion against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was tabled on Monday in the National Assembly by Leader of the Opposition and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, setting in motion the process in the lower house to remove the embattled cricketer-turned-politician from office.

As the much-anticipated session began after a two-day recess on Monday, Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri asked the members of the Parliament, who are in favor of the motion, to stand up to that their numbers could be counted.

Sharif first moved a resolution to allow tabling of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly, the lower house of bicameral parliament, which was approved by 161 yes votes.

It was followed by the tabling of the no-confidence motion by Sharif, capping the first phase of the constitutional procedure.

Since the voting should be held between 3-7 days, Deputy Speaker Suri who was chairing the session in the absence of Speaker Asad Qaidar, prorogued the session until 4 pm March 31, when it would reconvene for debate and voting.

Prime Minister Khan needs 172 votes in the house of 342 to foil the bid. Since Khan’s allies with 23 members are still not committed to supporting him and about two dozen lawmakers from within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf have revolted, the situation was still fluid.

Khan was meeting Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, a key ally, while the opposition was scheduled to hold a massive rally in the capital, as both sides claims to have numbers to succeed.

The country plunged into uncertainty on March 8 after the combined opposition submitted the motion to the National Assembly along with a requisition to the speaker to summon the session within mandatory 14 days.

Though the session was called on March 25, three days after the deadline, the speaker refused to allow the motion to be tabled.

Talking to the media, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said that the no-confidence resolution would be decided by March 31, adding that Prime Minister Khan was not going anywhere.

“People must shun the idea that Imran’s politics is teetering on the brink, especially after his ‘great’ rally in Islamabad a day ago, he said, and termed the move as “a conspiracy to weaken Pakistan”.

Rashid repeated what Khan said on Sunday while addressing a rally in Islamabad that an international conspiracy was afoot to topple his government. However, in response to a question, Rashid said he has no idea about the letter that Khan had referred to in his speech.

In a massive show of strength ahead of the crucial no-confidence motion against his government, Khan on Sunday addressed a mammoth rally in the national capital where he claimed that foreign powers were involved in a conspiracy to topple his coalition government.

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