Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday secured the majority of votes to win the vote of confidence from the National Assembly, Dawn reported.
The special session was called in a show of strength by the premier himself after his party lost a crucial seat in the Senate elections.
The premier needed 172 votes to win the confidence vote. Announcing the result, the speaker said that eight years ago, Prime Minister Imran had been elected to the post with 176 votes. “Today, he has secured 178 votes,” he said.
According to the participants of the meeting, the prime minister has “set a unique trend”.
The session started at 12:15 pm with the recitation of the Holy Quran and a naat without the opposition in attendance. Later, the national anthem was played in the House at which all lawmakers stood up in respect.
Following this, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tabled the resolution on which voting was held and the NA speaker read out rules on how the voting will be conducted.
The resolution, which was read out by the speaker again, says: “That this House reposes confidence in the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr Imran Khan, as required under clause (7) of Article 91 of the Constitution Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
After reading out the resolution, the speaker directed the legislators who wanted to cast their votes to make their way to another chamber inside the House, where the NA staff recorded their votes.
After casting their votes, the lawmakers made their way back from the lobby to the House and results were announced.
PM Imran had announced earlier this week that he would seek a vote of confidence from his party’s lawmakers, following an upset in the Senate election on March 3. While the ruling PTI made gains, it experienced a shocking upset on the Islamabad seat where PPP’s Yousuf Raza Gilani bagged 169 votes, defeating the government’s nominee, Hafeez Shaikh, who received 164 votes, meaning that several ruling alliance MNAs had voted for the Pakistan Democratic Movement candidate.
This is the first time a prime minister has undertaken such an exercise after the passage of the 18th Amendment.
Prior to this, the law required every prime minister to take a vote of confidence from the Assembly within 30 days of being elected — a vote that Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and other prime ministers of the past had to seek after their election.
Since 2010, however, the law does not require such a practice. In fact, according to clause 7 of Article 91 of the Constitution, the president “shall not exercise his powers under this clause unless he is satisfied that the prime minister does not command the confidence of the majority” in the Assembly.
Yesterday, during a meeting of parliamentary parties at the Prime Minister House, 175 out of 179 government lawmakers gave assurance to the prime minister that they will give him the vote of confidence. All MNAs of the ruling alliance were asked to vote for the prime minister otherwise they can be de-seated.
The 10-party alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Friday announced that the opposition will boycott the session. PDM chief Fazlur Rehman called it a futile exercise by the premier for face-saving after the lower house of parliament already rejected him as the premier in the recent Senate elections.
Rehman said that “this session will have no political importance” and the PTI government “will not be considered the representative government of this nation”.