- 174 votes cast in favour of resolution, making Imran Khan the first premier in Pakistan's history to be ousted through no-trust motion
ISLAMABAD: Voting on the no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan has been completed early Sunday morning with 174 members being in favour of it. The development comes after an almost 15-hour long National Assembly session that began on Saturday morning at 10:30am.
As a result, Imran Khan is no longer the prime minister of Pakistan, becoming the first premier to be ousted through a no-trust vote.
Shehbaz Sharif addressed the lower house after the process, saying that a new dawn is upon us.
Later, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also addressed the lower house, expressing his pleasure at the decision. "Democracy is the best revenge," he said.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser resigned just minutes before the midnight-deadline, inviting Ayaz Sadiq to resume the session that is being held for a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Sadiq says a five-minute interval has been granted for lawmakers to return to the lower house.
Speaker Asad Qaiser, an ally of the prime minister, was to preside over a no-confidence vote on Saturday, as ordered by the country's Supreme Court. The ruling party has tried to delay the vote, opposition legislators and analysts say.
"As per the Supreme Court's orders, we will start the voting now," says Sadiq. "The session will be adjourned for two minutes."
Reports indicate government MNAs are not present in the session, while Prime Minister Imran Khan has left the PM's Office.
"Just saw off Prime Minister Imran Khan from Prime Minister's House," tweeted PTI's Faisal Javed Khan. "He walked out gracefully and didn't bow down. He has lifted the entire nation. Feeling proud to be a Pakistani and blessed to have a leader like him."
The session has resumed after the brief adjournment.
Sadiq says to commence the voting process. The process is likely to take 60 to 90 minutes.
PTI's Asad Umar also tweeted as count for the no-confidence vote continued.
"In the last 3 years, I have seen Imran Khan work tirelessly for the betterment of the country," he said. "His only objective: how do I make Pakistan stronger and improve the lives of people of Pakistan. May Allah give you more strength to serve the nation, skipper."
The voting process has now been completed.
NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq asks lawmakers to take their seats. He announced the results, saying 174 votes have been cast in favour of the resolution.
The NA session has now been adjourned till Monday 11am.
Before final NA session
It was reported earlier that Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial arrived at the Supreme Court on Saturday amid reports that the government is making last-ditch efforts to delay the vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan. Read the story here.
A crucial session of the National Assembly (NA) set to decide the fate of Prime Minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence motion had not yet resumed, with speculation rife that the government is making last-ditch efforts to delay the vote.
During NA proceedings, it was reported that the premier also convened a special session of the federal cabinet at 9pm.
The NA session, which first began at 10:30am, resumed after Iftar, but a break was taken after just a few minutes. The session was then adjourned till 9:30pm. However, it has not yet commenced.
The session has already dragged on for almost 12 hours amid the opposition's call to hold the vote-count that it says would most certainly dismiss the premier.
The session began in the morning with NA Speaker Asad Qaiser in the chair. It was first adjourned in less than 30 minutes, and scheduled to resume at 12:30pm. However, it began at 2:30pm after a delay as opposition and government members held meetings. Amjad Khan Niazi chaired the session as it began after the adjournment.
Various lawmakers addressed the session, delivering lengthy speeches on Pakistan's foreign and economic policy, while trading accusations. The opposition insisted that a vote-count be held immediately, while the government looked to debate on the 'threat letter'.
The session was then adjourned till after Iftar. However, another break was taken after a few minutes, after which the session was adjourned till 9:30pm.
Earlier, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressed the floor, calling on the presiding speaker to proceed with the voting. He said the apex court had ruled that the speaker has to hold the session originally scheduled for April 3 and conduct the voting against the no-confidence motion.
Bilawal added that the presiding speaker and Asad Qaiser before him are committing contempt of court by introducing agenda items into today's proceedings other than the April 3 items.
"If you want a debate about a foreign conspiracy, then we can debate for 100 days.
"There are so many lies in his (Imran Khan's) speech. There's a time difference between Pakistan and America, if it is March 8 here, it is March 7 there," Bilawal added, referring to the 'threat letter' that motivated the no-confidence motion.
In response, the presiding speaker said that the court cannot interfere in parliament proceedings.
Continuing with his speech, Bilawal called the PM out for being absent during today's session.
"If you do not start vote-counting, we will remain here and we will protest for the vote. The PM should have showed some sportsman spirit while leaving," he said.
PPP Co-Chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari also took to the floor and urged for the voting to be held.
"They say their gun is aimed at me. They are now a hunter and a cricketer. I do not take personal offence to these comments. I urge you to hold the vote-count."
Once again calling on the speaker to hold the vote, Zardari urged putting an end to the ongoing process.
"We have to live in Pakistan and maintain links with every political party. So hold the vote and end this. Let's move forward so that Pakistan can prosper."
Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi took the floor once again after the session resumed, saying that the nation is “well aware of how votes were bought and sold during last year's Senate elections”.
He further said "blatant attempts" for changing the regime are not hidden.
“History will expose those who have run this entire drama,” he said, adding that the pen of the historian does not forgive anyone.
While speaking about the PM’s recent visit to Russia, Qureshi said all institutions decided that it would be for the betterment of Pakistan for the PM to make the trip to Moscow.
He claimed that US national security adviser called Pakistan’s NSA and told him not to visit Russia.
“Where does one sovereign state tell another to not go on a foreign visit?" Qureshi asked.
The morning session began with the recitation of the Holy Quran. It was followed by the national anthem and prayers for the recently deceased mother of MNA Shazia Sobia.
Addressing the floor of the Parliament, Leader of the Opposition and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif said Thursday was a historic day, when the Supreme Court declared Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri's dismissal of the no-confidence motion as "unconstitutional".
Shehbaz called on the speaker to conduct proceedings in accordance with the top court's directives.
"Today, parliament is going to defeat a selected prime minister in a constitutional manner," the opposition leader said.
"The Supreme Court's orders will be followed in true letter and spirit," Qaiser said in response after which he gave the floor to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
In his turn, Qureshi acknowledged that the opposition had the right to table a no-trust motion against the PM. However, he said the government intends to fight it in a constitutional, political and democratic manner.
"I want to say on behalf of my party that the opposition has a right to present the no-trust motion and it is my right to contest it. We should debate this constitutionally," Qureshi added.
Ahead of the session
Leader of the Opposition and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, and other MNAs had earlier started arriving at the NA.
On Friday, the NA Secretariat issued the agenda with voting on the no-confidence resolution being the fourth item on a six-point list.
Khan lost his majority in the 342-seat national assembly through defections by coalition partners and members of his own Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI), and the opposition needs just 172 votes to dismiss him.
There is no vote for a new premier on the agenda, but that could change and Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Shehbaz Sharif is the likely candidate.
Khan, 69, said in his address late Friday he had accepted a Supreme Court ruling that ordered the no-confidence vote, but insisted he was victim of a "regime change" conspiracy involving the United States.
The former international cricket star also urged the public to stage peaceful protests on Sunday night, and vowed not to accept the incoming "imported government".
A heavy security blanket was also thrown over the capital Saturday, with thousands of police on the streets and a ring of steel containers blocking access to the government enclave.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Khan acted illegally by dissolving parliament and calling fresh elections after the deputy speaker of the national assembly -- a loyalist -- refused to allow the earlier no-confidence vote because of "foreign interference".
Khan said the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had conspired with Washington to bring the no-confidence vote because of his opposition to US foreign policy.
With reference to the defections, he also accused the opposition of buying support in the assembly with "open horse-trading".
"I was disappointed with the Supreme Court decision but I want to make it clear that I respect the Supreme Court and Pakistan's judiciary," he said.
"There is a conspiracy from abroad," Khan said. "This is a very serious allegation ... that a foreign country conspired to topple an entire government."
Washington has denied any involvement.
How long the next government lasts is also a matter of speculation.
The opposition said previously they wanted an early election, which must be called by October, but taking power gives them the opportunity to set their own agenda.
Islamabad seals red zone
Ahead of the crucial session, authorities in Islamabad sealed the red zone and deployed thousands of security personnel around Parliament. All routes leading to the red zone are to be sealed during the session, while entry and exit to the red zone would only be allowed via Margalla road for authorised personnel.
As per reports, more than 3,000 police, Rangers, FC, and Punjab Constabulary personnel have been deployed.
All you need to know
Opposition submits no-trust motion against Suri
On Friday, the opposition submitted a no-trust move against Qasim Suri, for “violating” the constitution and depriving the opposition of its democratic right through his controversial ruling on April 3, 2022. His role was crucial in the previous NA session when he dismissed the no-confidence vote.
The motion stated that through the ruling, the deputy speaker deprived the joint opposition of its constitutional and democratic right to vote on the no-confidence motion against Khan and “hence lost the confidence of the House”.
SC restores NA, sets aside deputy speaker's ruling
On Thursday night, the Supreme Court had set aside the ruling issued by the deputy speaker on the no-trust vote against Khan and restored the NA.
The court ruled that President Dr Arif Alvi's decision to dissolve the NA was "illegal" and restored PM Imran as well as his cabinet.
The top court also ordered NA Speaker Asad Qaiser to summon the session on Saturday (today) at 10:30 am, saying that the session cannot be prorogued without the conclusion of the no-trust motion.
"If the no-confidence motion against the prime minister succeeds, then the assembly will appoint the new prime minister," the court order said.
The order had further noted that the government cannot interfere in the participation of any lawmaker in the assembly session.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial said that the court's verdict was "unanimous."
"The current issues are done away with," he said.
The top judge remarked that the order will not impact proceedings under Article 63 of the Constitution.
'Would not accept this imported government'
Following the verdict, Khan addressed the nation on Friday night, saying that he once went to prison for a free judiciary but was disappointed that the apex court gave its verdict without even going into the details of the letter on the basis of which Suri gave his ruling.
The prime minister said that the court should have at least seen the document to ascertain whether the government's claim was true or not. However, he said that he would accept the court verdict but questioned what kind of democracy is that the court has not taken suo moto action against the horse-trading going on behind the vote of no confidence.
He said that he would not accept this imported government and go to people against it, and stated that all those who have been accusing each other of corruption and filed cases against each other are brought together by foreign conspiracy. The prime minister said that now NRO-II would be given to them.
Previous no-confidence vote's dismissal
On April 3, Suri presiding over the session had dismissed the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, declaring it "unconstitutional".
Suri, who was chairing the session, dismissed the motion, terming it a contradiction of Article 5 of the Constitution. The session lasted barely a few minutes.