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Imran Khan gets confidence, opposition boycotts session

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday sailed through the vote of confidence from the National Assembly, after getting 178 votes, only two days after his party lost a crucial seat in the Senate election.

The opposition alliance chose to stay away from the process and watched the proceedings from the Sindh House. The joint eleven-party alliance under the banner of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) won a general seat for the Senate for former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani against the ruling party candidate, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, with a five-vote victory.

Imran Khan required 172 votes to win the confidence vote in the 342-member House. The ruling coalition had 181 members but after the resignation of Faisal Vawda, the number strength dropped to 180, while the opposition coalition has 160 members in the House.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar announced the result and said Imran Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan after securing 176 votes in August 2018, and “MashAllah today he has got 178 votes.”

The House erupted in jubilation by the members, who shouted slogans “Prime Minister Imran Khan”.

The prime minister arrived at the National Assembly before the commencement of the 30th session. The proceedings with Speaker Asad Qaiser in the chair, began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, and the National Anthem was played.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the National Assembly after getting vote of confidence on Thursday.

This is the first time that a prime minister has gone for a vote of confidence after the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tabled a resolution in the House, and the Speaker read out the details of the process for the members. Bells were rung for five minutes and the Speaker read out the resolution, triggering a long thumping of the desks.

The five-vote victory in the Federal Capital’s Senate election brought the defining moment in the otherwise battle of narratives going on for months between the government and the PDM.

In a show of strength, Prime Minister Imran Khan secured 178 votes – 6 more than required – on Saturday to win the vote of confidence from the National Assembly.

The special session was called after the premier voluntarily sought a trust following an upset in Senate elections.

The premier needed 172 votes to win the confidence vote. Announcing the result, the speaker said that eight years ago, Prime Minister Imran had been elected to the post with 176 votes. “Today, he has secured 178 votes,” he said.

According to the breakdown, 155 PTI lawmakers voted in favour of the premier.

Besides, seven lawmakers from the MQM-P, five each from the Balochistan Awami Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, three from Grand Democratic Alliance and one each from the Awami Muslim League and the Jamhoori Watan Party cast their votes supporting the prime minister.

Independent candidate Aslam Bhotani also reposed confidence in the premier through his vote.

Addressing the House after securing the trust vote, PM Imran thanked government lawmakers, including his allies, for staying by his side through thick and thin.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan meeting with his party women members of National Assembly before getting vote of confidence on Saturday.

He commended the way his party reacted after the Islamabad Senate seat upset, saying that this experience had made them tougher.

“To my parliamentarians and team, I thank you. Yesterday evening when I saw you, I realised that you were really hurt when we lost the Senate election of Hafeez Shaikh.

“But when I saw you, I felt very good because I saw a team in you and our team will get stronger. Because God will test your faith again and again,” the prime minister said.

The premier said he knew of many individual MNAs who tried hard to attend the vote today but could not make it as some were facing health issues. “I thank all of you,” he said.

PM Imran said it was embarrassing the way elections were held in Pakistan. He named PPP co-chair Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, saying they were “thieves” who were blackmailing his government for an NRO.

He said Zardari was commonly referred to in phrases such as “one Zardari trumps all (aik Zardari sab pe bhaari)” and “Mr 10 per cent” because of his corrupt practices.

The PM further said that Sharif had faked sickness to go abroad so that he could avoid the legal consequences of his corruption and theft.