The three-and-a-half-year-long innings of the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government in Pakistan came to an end late on Saturday night. The proceedings of the National Assembly were adjourned several times on Saturday amid the day-long high-voltage drama. Speaker Asad Qaiser resigned from the post 15 minutes before the end of the voting period. After this the voting process started with the new chairman. Voting was conducted on the no-confidence motion late night, in which the opposition won. 174 votes were cast in favor of the no-confidence motion, while not a single vote was cast against it.
The ruling PTI MPs did not participate in the voting and Imran Khan himself left the Prime Minister’s residence. Earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called a cabinet meeting at 9.30 pm, but instead of resigning, decided to face the no-confidence motion.
The Imran-led cabinet also decided to share that alleged intelligence letter with the head of the Senate, the speaker and the chief justice. On the basis of which Imran Khan was accusing him of removing his government under a foreign conspiracy.
Amidst the political crisis in Pakistan, an alert was issued at all the airports late at night. According to Pakistan media sources, it has been ordered that no government official or leader should leave the country without permission. There were reports that one of the three conditions for leaving Imran Khan’s post was that no action should be taken against his supporters, leaders and officials.
Imran, in his address to the country on Friday night, directly blamed America. After the cabinet meeting, Imran Khan reached the National Assembly along with other party MPs. In fact, according to the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the vote on the no-confidence motion was to be held on 9 April itself, although Imran Khan’s party PTI had created new suspense by filing a review petition against the Supreme Court’s decision. But Imran Khan called an emergency meeting of the cabinet and announced to face the no-confidence motion.
Earlier, two ministers of Pakistan changed their bio on Twitter handle to indicate to some extent that the government of Pakistan may resign collectively. The news of voting in the National Assembly came after 10 pm, when Pakistani media reports said that the Supreme Court could hear the disobedience of its order after 12 pm. For this, there were reports of the Islamabad High Court being opened at 10 o’clock in the night. However, in the cabinet meeting, Imran Khan made it clear that he was not going to resign. There were reports of him going to Parliament.
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party lost majority in the National Assembly earlier this month. A key ally of the coalition had said seven of its MPs would vote with the opposition. More than a dozen lawmakers from the ruling party had also indicated that they would go against the government.
By line: Divya Thearia