Islamabad: After suffering a massive setback in the Senate election, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is set to face a vote of confidence in the National Assembly has threatened his party lawmakers to follow the party line or face action.
This comes after Khan said that he will sit on “Opposition benches” if lawmakers said they have no confidence in him. “Raise your hand and send me out of the government and I will go to the opposition,” he said adding, “I will sit on the opposition benches if I lose the vote.”
Khan`s party Pakistan — Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — has 157 members in the 342-member National Assembly. Opposition Pakistan Muslim Leauge-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples` Party have 84 and 54 members, respectively.
In a letter addressed to “All Members of the Parliamentary Party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf in the National Assembly of Pakistan” regarding the “Vote of Confidence”, Khan wrote, “You are required to take part in the voting on the resolution for a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister as per the directions of the party.”
“The party head may declare any member to have defected from the political party and forward a copy of such declaration to the election commission in case he or she votes or abstains from voting contrary to the direction issued by the party in the vote of confidence in the Prime Minister under paragraph ii of clause b of Article 63A of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” he added.
The President of Pakistan has summoned the National Assembly on March 6, 2021, at 12.15 pm in the Parliament House, in the country`s capital for the purpose of requiring Khan to obtain the vote of confidence from the National Assembly under clause 7 of the Article 91 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.The decision to go for a trust vote came after a candidate from Imran Khan`s party lost a crucial Islamabad senate seat to Pakistan People`s Party (PPP) leader and former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani by a slim margin of five votes.
Khan is not the first Pakistani Prime Minister to face a vote of confidence in the National Assembly.
In fact, under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, all prime ministers of Pakistan, from 1985 to 2008, received a vote of confidence from the National Assembly.
These included the late Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Mir Zafarullah Jamali, Chaudhry Shujaat, Shaukat Aziz, and Yousuf Raza Gilani, reported Geo News.
But Imran Khan is also the second in the history of Pakistan who has sought for a `voluntary` vote of confidence.Muhammad Khan Junejo was the first prime minister in the parliamentary history of the country to receive a vote of confidence from the National Assembly, which he received on March 24, 1985, under General Zia-ul-Haq`s Revival of Constitution of 1973 Order (RCO), reported Geo News.
Under the RCO, the president appoints the prime minister at their discretion and the prime minister must obtain a vote of confidence from the National Assembly within 60 days of their appointment.
Pakistan`s Constitution states that if the president feels that the prime minister has lost the confidence of the majority of the parliament`s members, then he will direct him to seek a vote of confidence and this vote is taken through an open ballot.
Imran Khan, under all circumstances, must have the support of a simple majority of 172 lawmakers in the National Assembly, according to Article 91(7) of the Constitution.
However, since the NA-75 seat lies vacant after its by-election results were nullified by the Election Commission of Pakistan, he will need the support of 171, reported The News International.