Pakistan: Parliament adjourned after no-confidence motion tabled; Imran Khan makes last-ditch attempt to save government
In a mega rally on Sunday, Prime Minister Khan claimed an international conspiracy seeking his removal from office
The Pakistan parliament on Monday adjourned the house session for three days—for the second time in this session— soon after the no-confidence was tabled against Prime Minister Imran Khan who is facing the biggest threat to his power since he came to office in 2018.
Interestingly, in a dramatic development hours after the tabling of the no-confidence motion, Usman Buzdar, the chief minister of Punjab province from the ruling PTI, also submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Khan, making way for a crucial sulking ally, Pervaiz Elahi, who has been being courted by the opposition camp to unseat Khan.
Elahi, the leader of the PML-Q and an ally in Khan’s government, has long been demanding the chief ministerial ship of Punjab, the country’s most populous and politically influential state. Khan’s party, the PTI, will support Elahi as a chief ministerial candidate in the province, Shahbaaz Gill, a key advisor of Khan, announced in a Tweet.
The development appears to be a setback to the joint opposition that for weeks was claiming Elahi on their side. Reports also indicated there were some discussions with opposition parties on post-arrangement for new government formation.
However, it is not yet clear if Elahi, who has five members in the National Assembly, will support Khan in parliament. Tareeq Bashir Cheema, a federal minister from his party, has also resigned from the cabinet, supporting a no-confidence motion against Khan.
Leaders of the ruling PTI claimed that all issues with the PML-Q were settled and expressed confidence that they will back Khan in parliament. However, the PML-Q is yet to make an announcement.
For Khan, who had been backing Buzdar’s chief ministerial for weeks now, today’s developments offer some relief.
In a mega rally on Sunday, Prime Minister Khan claimed an international conspiracy seeking his removal from office. Interior Minister Rashid said that the no-confidence resolution would be decided by March 31, adding that Khan was not going anywhere.
“People must shun the idea that Imran's politics is teetering on the brink, especially after his 'great' rally in Islamabad a day ago,” he was quoted as saying by Dawn. He also termed the move "a conspiracy to weaken Pakistan".
Khan’s trouble was reportedly compounded after his ties with the military strained following a tussle last year over the appointment of the country's intelligence head. The military, which had played a key role in bringing him to power in 2018, is said to have withdrawn its support to Khan thereafter.