Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday won a trust vote in the National Assembly amid a boycott call by the Opposition parties, strengthening his government’s legitimacy after an embarrassing defeat of the finance minister in the hotly-contested Senate elections.
Prime Minister Khan secured 178 votes in the 342-member lower house of Parliament during a special session convened on the directives of President Arif Alvi. A total of 172 votes was needed for a simple majority.
The floor test took place without the Opposition as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – an alliance of 11 parties – boycotted the voting.
The 68-year-old cricketer-turned politician had decided to take a vote of confidence in the lower house of Parliament after his finance minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was defeated in the closely-fought Senate election on Wednesday. The Opposition demanded the Prime Minister’s resignation after the debacle.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tabled a single-point resolution in the House.
“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,” the resolution said.
A total of 172 votes in the 342-member House was needed for a simple majority. The ruling coalition had 181 members but after the resignation of one of its lawmakers, Faisal Vowda, its strength was reduced to 180. The Opposition coalition has 160 members in the House. One seat was vacant.
The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had 157 members in the NA but following the resignation of Vowda, it now has 156 members in the National Assembly. The ruling party has said that Vowda can vote during the trust motion as his resignation has not been accepted yet. However, the Opposition insisted that he cannot vote as he has tendered his resignation.
The ruling party’s allies include seven from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), five each from the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), three from the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and one each from the AML and the JWP.
On Friday, Prime Minister Khan chaired a meeting of parliamentary parties at the Prime Minister House (PMH) in which all Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) of the ruling alliance were asked to vote for the prime minister otherwise they can be disqualified.
According to a Cabinet member, 175 lawmakers of the ruling coalition attended the parliamentary party meeting at PMH.
Khan also held separate meetings with leaders of the ruling coalition partners. All allied parties — the MQM, the PML-Q and the GDA pledged their support to him.