Pak NA's session to decide PM fate sees multiple adjournments; voting on trust motion doubtful

Pak NAs session to decide PM fate sees multiple adjournments; voting on trust motion doubtful

Islamabad: The crucial session of Pakistan's Parliament convened on Saturday in line with a landmark Supreme Court ruling to decide the fate of embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan witnessed multiple adjournments and heated arguments, but the voting on a no-confidence motion against him appeared to be a distant possibility before the end of the day.

The joint Opposition a rainbow of socialist, liberal and radically religious parties — need 172 members in the 342-member house to oust Prime Minister Khan. They have garnered the support of more than the needed strength with the help of some allies of the ruling coalition and rebels from Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

Khan, who came to power in 2018 with promises to create a Naya Pakistan', has been dogged by claims of economic mismanagement as his government battles depleting foreign exchange reserves and double-digit inflation.

He apparently also lost support of the powerful Army after he refused to endorse the appointment of the ISI spy agency chief last year. Finally he agreed but it soured his ties with the powerful Army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75 years of existence and has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.

Khan wanted to keep Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as the spy chief but the army high command transferred him by appointing Corps Commander in Peshawar.

Interestingly, no Pakistani prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term in office.

After the apex court's ruling, the crucial session of the house began at 10:30 am (11:00 IST) with Speaker Asad Qaiser, a senior member of Khan's party, in chair. Since then, the session has been adjourned thrice for one reason or another.

Prime Minister Khan, who was absent from the house, has summoned a meeting of his cabinet ministers on Saturday night at the Prime Ministers' House here. Important decisions are expected in the meeting, Geo News reported quoting high-level sources.

As the session began, Leader of the Opposition and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif hailed Thursday as a historic day in Pakistan's history when the Supreme Court rejected the deputy speaker's ruling and said that the apex court's decision had made the country's future "bright".

Meanwhile, the Khan government on Saturday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging its decision to declare the ruling of the deputy speaker to dismiss the no-confidence resolution against the prime minister as unconstitutional.

The petition, the copies of which are available to media, urged the apex court to "review, recall and set aside" its order, "which is based on errors floating on the surface" and "the captioned causes be dismissed/discharged".

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