Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif introduced a resolution of no confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan at the National Assembly on Monday.
The long-awaited session, which included resolutions of no confidence on 26 items, began after a two-day adjournment, chaired by National Assembly Vice-Chairman Qasim Khan Suri.
Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif has asked the chairman for permission to submit a motion of no confidence to Prime Minister Imran Khan. He met with the NA Vice Chairman and said, “As a resolution has already been proposed, I will ask Suri (Suri) for permission to submit this bill to the National Assembly.”
A vote was then held to determine whether the resolution would be accepted. After counting the votes, the vice chairman announced that “the submission of the no-confidence resolution is permitted” because 161 lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution.
Then he asked Sharif to present a resolution, which the opposition leader read aloud.
“With this resolution, in accordance with Article 95(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, this House of Representatives does not trust Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi and therefore resolves to suspend his duties in accordance with the following provisions. Same as number 4.”
Following the vote on the resolution, the Vice-Chairman announced that discussion on the resolution would begin on March 31.
“The meeting has been postponed until 4:00 PM on March 31,” he said.
Before Sharif submitted the resolution, Prime Minister’s Assistant to Prime Minister Babar Awan submitted two motions.
The resolution was originally scheduled to be introduced on Friday, but the process was delayed when NA chairman Asad Qaiser postponed the meeting within minutes and ignored opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif who wanted a voice to give a speech.
He did not allow an opposition resolution of no-confidence to be put forward after, according to parliamentary tradition, he offered fate for the deceased Pakistani Tehreek-i-Insaf MNA from Hangu in Khayal Zaman.
It is the National Assembly convention that the first dinner after the death of MNA is limited to prayers for the souls of the deceased and tributes that fellow lawmakers wish to offer.
At the time, Qaiser said that, by tradition, he postponed the agenda the day after the congressman died.
Later, the opposition denounced the speaker, saying that it was the parliamentary tradition to always give the opposition leader a say whenever Shehbaz spoke.
Opposition leaders expressed their anger at the speaker after the meeting, claiming that the speaker was running the parliament “as a member of the ruling PTI, not the person in power.”
The meeting was convened on Friday, three days after the 14-day deadline, which was mandated by the constitution, expired on March 8, when the opposition party submitted a motion of no confidence to the NA Secretariat.
At that time, the opposition party requested a petition because the National Assembly did not open according to Article 54 of the Constitution, and the other party submitted a resolution of no confidence in the prime minister.
According to Article 54, the Speaker of the National Assembly may be convened when at least 25% of the members of the National Assembly have signed it, and thereafter, the Speaker may convene a session for up to 14 days.
Meanwhile, Article 95 of the Constitution and the rules of procedure of the House of Representatives stipulate that a resolution of no confidence in the prime minister must be signed by at least 20% of the current members, that is, at least 68 members. to vote for.
After the NA is in session, according to the rules of procedure, the secretary will circulate a notice of resolution of the distrust to be moved on the next working day.
A resolution cannot be put to a vote before 3 days or after 7 days, according to the rules from the date it was moved.
Therefore, the chairman must convene the House of Representatives by March 22, and the vote on the no-confidence bill must be held 3 to 7 days after the convening.
However, the speaker convened a meeting on March 25, three days after the deadline on March 22, due to the occupation of the Northern Chamber at the 48th meeting of the Islamic State Organization (IS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held on March 22 and 23.
Until March 31, the fate of the resolution
Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid said the no-confidence process for the prime minister would begin today and the fate of the resolution would be decided by March 31.
But he earlier said at a press conference that a vote on the no-confidence motion would take place on April 4 if the chairman allows a vote on Monday, suggesting that the government could delay the process further.
Meanwhile, the opposition party plans to protest fiercely both inside and outside the National Assembly if the Speaker of the National Assembly delays submitting the no-confidence bill.
The opposition would need at least 172 votes for the no-confidence measure to succeed.
After Shah Jain Bouti of the Jamhuri Wathan party decided to step down from the ruling coalition on Sunday, the opposition now has 163 MNA support, while the opposition has dropped from 342 to 178 in the House of Representatives. .
PML-Q, Balochistan Awami Party, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (three major government alliances with a total of 17 MNAs) have yet to decide which side to take. These parties are still negotiating with the government and opposition parties.
Moreover, more than a dozen anti-PTI MNAs have already disclosed criticism of government policy, indicating that they can support the opposition’s no-confidence bill at the cost of disqualification from NA membership. However, some lawmakers have denied defecting after receiving a self-defense notice from a political party, and demanded an explanation for why they are not recognized as defectors.
Therefore, the alliance of these dissident lawmakers remains unclear.
South Punjab Act
A government-backed constitutional amendment bill calling for the creation of southern Punjab is also on the agenda today.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the media on Sunday that he had submitted a constitutional amendment to the National Assembly Secretariat calling for the creation of the province of South Punjab.
At Qureshi’s request, the speaker immediately ordered the bill to be put on Monday’s agenda.
The move came at a time when the PTI was struggling to regain support from allies and dissidents within the party.
Under the draft bill, southern Punjab would have 56 parliamentary seats, including 46 general and 119 local councils. Making Southern Punjab the nation’s fifth state was one of PTI’s election manifestos.
“Today we have fulfilled another promise to the people of Southern Punjab,” Qureshi told reporters, adding that the bill was moved under the direction of the prime minister. He urged opposition parties, including the PPP and PML-N, to support the constitutional amendment bill.
A bill calling for the creation of a southern Punjab province, initiated by PML-N’s Rana Mehmoodul Hasan and supported by both the PTI and PPP, has been pending in the Senate since January.
Two ordinances are on the agenda today, in addition to resolutions calling for the constitutional extension of the lifespan of the other three ordinances. Interestingly, both ordinances have already expired.