Islamist Prime Minister Imran Khan stops no-confidence vote by dissolving parliament

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday blocked a planned no-confidence vote against him by Pakistan’s National Assembly, according to the Pakistani newspaper dusk reported, noting that the action just before Khan also requested the dissolution of Pakistan’s parliament.

“[Pakistan] Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri on Sunday [April 3] rejected the motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan, calling it contrary to Article 5 of the [Pakistan] Constitution,” the newspaper reported.

According to Pakistani news channel Geo TV, Article 5 of the Pakistani Constitution states the following:

(1) Loyalty to the state is the basic duty of every citizen.

(2) Obedience to the constitution and the law is the [inviolable] Obligation of every citizen wherever he is and for now every other person in Pakistan.

Shortly after Suri rejected the “no-confidence” resolution against Khan on Sunday, Khan announced that he had advised Pakistani President Arif Alvi to dissolve Pakistan’s National Assembly under Article 58 of Pakistan’s constitution. Then, in a televised address, the Prime Minister urged the Pakistani public to prepare for new national elections.

Pakistani opposition leaders Shehbaz Sharif (R) and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (L) speak during a news conference in Islamabad April 4, 2022. Pakistan’s Supreme Court on April 4 heard arguments surrounding Prime Minister Imran Khan’s shock decision to call snap elections, a vote of no confidence to circumvent, which would have chased him out of office. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Article 58 of the Constitution of Pakistan states in part: “[T]The President may also, in his sole discretion, dissolve the National Assembly if, in his opinion, a situation has arisen in which federal government cannot continue in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and an appeal to the electors is required. ”

Pakistan’s opposition parties tabled a “motion of no confidence” in Prime Minister Khan on March 8. Khan has accused foreign forces, particularly members of the US State Department, of instigating the “no-confidence motion” as part of broader efforts to implement regime change in Pakistan.

Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told ministers of the Pakistani Parliament on April 3 that Islamabad had learned of “a regime change operation by a foreign government”. This revelation paved the way for Suri, a close ally of Khan, to declare the “no-confidence motion” unconstitutional.

Some observers of Pakistan’s planned “no-confidence” motion against Khan believed the vote would successfully unseat the prime minister. After Khan’s government scrapped Sunday’s vote, Pakistani opposition parties on Monday hoped Pakistan’s Supreme Court could overturn the decision in the coming days.

“All eyes will now be on the position of Pakistan’s powerful military. They are widely believed to have put Imran Khan in power in 2018,” the BBC noted on April 4.

“Now an alleged rift between the two sides prompted the opposition to attack him,” says the British broadcaster’s analysis.

The BBC cited Khan’s refusal to “sign off on the appointment of a new chief of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency ISI” in October 2021 as a source for Khan’s current power struggle with the Pakistani military.

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