Sunday is decisive day
for Imran Govt, voting
on ‘no-confidence move’,
all eyes at outcome

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ISLAMABAD: A National Assembly session which began three days after the opposition tabled a no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan was adjourned by deputy speaker Qasim Suri until Sunday morning.

The session was expected to witness a debate on the no-confidence motion.

However, it was adjourned soon after the deputy speaker allowed the question hour, as several opposition leaders demanded voting on the resolution.

Pak parliament building

Suri described the opposition’s attitude as ‘non-serious’ before calling off the session.

“The Sitting of the Nation Assembly has been adjourned to meet again on Sunday the 3rd April 2022 at 11:30 am,” read a social media post on the National Assembly Twitter account.

Amid suspense over the fate of the prime minister who will address the nation tonight, the government announced it had summoned a session of its National Security Committee (NSC).

The meeting of the NSC comes amid a scandal over a so-called “threatening” letter that Khan said in a rally on Sunday proved a foreign conspiracy to oust him. Khan did not specify which country or personality had written the letter. Since the rally, however, it has emerged that the letter was in fact a diplomatic cable written by a Pakistani diplomat allegedly detailing American sentiment about strained US-Pakistan relations under Khan and the hope that ties could possibly improve if there was regime change.

The US state department has denied it wrote any letter to the Pakistan government on recent political developments.

“Prime Minister has convened a meeting of the National Security Committee, which will be held at the Prime Minister’s House this afternoon,” information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said in a tweet without providing details of the agenda.

Local media reported Khan planned to share the “threatening” letter with members of the NSC, which is chaired by the PM, and whose members include senior cabinet ministers and chiefs of the army, navy and air force.

The opposition has also asked the PM to bring the document to an in-camera parliamentary proceeding for discussion.

Meanwhile, while a vote on the motion is to be held within seven days of its tabling, Khan already lost his majority in parliament after a key government ally said on Wednesday it had struck a deal with the opposition and subsequently quit Khan’s ruling coalition. Another coalition partner, Balochistan’s BAP, has also abandoned Khan.

“The prime minister ceases to hold his office after he has lost the confidence of this house,” opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif told reporters on Wednesday.

The no-trust move comes as Pakistan faces an enduring economic crisis, amid cries by the opposition that Khan has mismanaged the economy and governed poorly.

Nearly 20 defections in Khan’s ruling party combined with the loss of coalition partners have made Khan short of the 172 votes, a simple majority, needed to hold on to power.

Opposition parties filed the no-confidence motion on March 8, and it was presented and tabled before the National Assembly this Monday.

The speaker of the National Assembly has to carry out the vote no sooner than three days and no later than seven days after the motion is tabled. The earliest the vote can happen is today, Thursday. The latest is next Monday.