Pakistan parliament blocks no-confidence motion against PM Khan

Islamabad, Apr 3 (EFE).- Pakistan’s parliament on Sunday blocked a no-confidence motion filed against the country’s prime minister saying that it was unconstitutional, after which the president dissolved the lower house and called for new elections.

The deputy speaker of the National Assembly — the parliament’s lower house —, Qasim Suri, dismissed the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan, saying that it went against article 5-A of the Constitution, which states that loyalty to the State is the basic duty of every Pakistani citizen.

“I give the ruling that the no-confidence motion is contradictory to the constitution and sovereignty of the country and against the rules and procedures,” Suri said in his ruling, thereby preventing the opposition from voting on a no-confidence motion against Khan after claiming that it had enough support to overthrow him.

In a televised address to the nation later, the prime minister said that he had advised President Arif Alvi to dissolve the National Assembly and call for early elections.

Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif, touted to replace Khan as the new prime minister, described the proceedings as “high treason” and said that Khan “has pushed the country into anarchy.”

He warned that there would be consequences for the “blatant and brazen violation of the Constitution” and urged the Supreme Court to “play its role to uphold the Constitution.”

This was the second no-confidence motion against Khan in the past year.

The Pakistani leader won a trust vote in March 2021 after seeking a motion that was boycotted by his opponents.

But this time the opposition coalition claimed to have the necessary support to oust him in the National Assembly, in which the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has 179 out of 342 seats against the opposition’s 162.

Although 172 seats are required to maintain a majority in the assembly, several key allies of the government’s coalition had announced that they were joining the opposition, along with a dozen PTI lawmakers.

Khan, whose five-year term was due to end in the summer of 2023, had claimed in recent days that this no-confidence motion was part of a conspiracy led by a foreign government for his Russia visit on the day of the Ukraine invasion.

In an address to the nation earlier this week, Khan said his government had received a message from a foreign government in early March.

“On Mar. 7, we got a message from America, not America, I mean from a foreign country,” Khan said, quickly eating his words in the live televised address.

Washington has denied the allegations. EFE


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