- National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri adjourns session till Sunday after lawmakers suggest holding voting on no-confidence motion straightaway
The National Assembly session was again adjourned till April 3 with Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri saying that "since no one is serious in holding a debate on the no-confidence resolution, the session will now be held on Sunday at 11:30am".
The National Assembly (NA) commenced a crucial session where it was due to hold a debate on the no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
There were 24 points on the session's agenda, with the debate coming in fourth place. National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri presided over the session.
During the previous session on March 28, Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif had tabled the no-confidence motion against the PM. 161 lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution, after which Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri adjourned the session till March 31 (Thursday).
MQM-P switches allegiance
Khan's future as prime minister was thrown further into doubt after a key coalition partner switched allegiance ahead of the no-confidence vote.
On Wednesday, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), a key ally of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), announced that it was joining the opposition, dealing a severe blow to the incumbent government.
MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui made the formal announcement, terming it a "historic" day. "This time, we can strive for a democracy whose effects can reach the common people of Pakistan.
"We have prioritised Pakistan's interests over all individual interests," Siddiqui said.
The opposition parties reportedly have the support of 177 members in the NA. The minimum number required to form the government at the centre is 172.
Aleem Khan's group refuses to vote for Pervaiz Elahi
Meanwhile, in more bad news for the ruling PTI, senior party leader Aleem Khan's group refused to support Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as the ruling party's candidate for Punjab's chief minister.
"We will support the opposition against Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi," a spokesperson of the Aleem Khan group confirmed, saying that every loyal worker of the PTI had apprehensions about the PML-Q leader's nomination.
"Is there no one from the PTI who could become Punjab's chief minister?" he asked.
PTI MNAs forbidden from attending NA session
Prime Minister Imran Khan has made it clear to his party lawmakers – both dissidents and loyalists – that they should not show up for the NA proceedings on the day of the decisive voting on the no-confidence motion.
In special missives sent to the MNAs ahead of the voting, the prime minister categorically said that no member of the PTI is allowed to come to the parliament, as under the rules, it is the opposition which is supposed to show it has support of 172 members in a 342-member lower house of the parliament to oust a prime minister.