Imran Khan First Pak PM To Lose No-Trust Vote, Shehbaz Sharif Likely to Replace Him

Islamabad: Imran Khan became the first Pakistan Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-trust motion that was put to vote in the National Assembly well past Saturday midnight after the Speaker stalled proceedings throughout the day.

Voting on the motion began at 11.58 pm on Saturday but the House was adjourned for four minutes as rules do not allow a session to continue past midnight. The new session began at 12.02 am (past 12.30 am in India).

Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, both from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party, resigned and Ayaz Sadiq of the main opposition PML-N took charge of the proceedings.

Prison vans were parked outside the National Assembly amid speculations that the Speaker and Deputy Speaker could be arrested for contempt of court. The Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court opened at night in anticipation of a midnight contempt hearing.

The joint opposition secured 174 votes in the 342-member House, more than the 172 votes needed.

Tehreek-i-Insaf Party members walked out of the House just before the voting. Khan too was not present in the House and vacated his official residence minutes before being voted out of power.

Shehbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition, is likely to replace Khan. “Pakistan is now on the track of honesty and legality again… We are looking at a bright future where we won’t be vengeful and jail anyone who’s innocent,” the 70-year-old younger brother of former PM Nawaz Sharif said.

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said, “Democracy was under attack for the last three years. Welcome to purana (old) Pakistan,” he said in a reference to Khan’s “Naya (new) Pakistan” dream.

Mocking Khan for not being present in the House, he said that he was the “first captain who is running from the pitch with wickets because he fears that he will lose the match”.

Earlier on Saturday, the National Assembly was adjourned four times amid high drama. Treasury members made lengthy speeches in an effort to stall the trust vote.

On April 7, the Supreme Court had set aside the Deputy Speaker’s decision to dismiss the no-trust motion against Khan, as well as the dissolution of the National Assembly. It had ordered the no-confidence motion to be taken up again.

Ahead of the no-trust vote, Khan accused the US of supporting a plot to oust him, which Washington has dismissed. In an address to the nation on Friday, Khan said he would not accept “an imported government”. “The move to oust him was part of a foreign conspiracy,” he claimed.

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