Imran Khan makes history as he becomes the first prime minister in Pakistan’s history to be voted out of power. The Constitution of Pakistan witnessed historic moments as the country saw a transfer of power and made it clear: The Law is Supreme.
The Opposition’s no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan succeeded on Sunday, April 10, with 174 members voting in favour of the motion. The magic number to oust Khan was ‘172’. National Assembly debated on the matter for more than 12 hours and the political situation in the country took a critical turn.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif said, “We cannot thank Allah enough for allowing us to see this new day,” said Shehbaz. “We thank everyone for their sacrifices, and now, once again, a Pakistan based on Constitution and law is about to come into existence,” the PML-N president said, hoping that the alliance would move the country towards progress.
“I would like to congratulate the whole nation and this House, as for the first time in the history of the country, a no-confidence motion has succeeded and we have made history,” said Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairperson Bilawal Bhutto.
“On April 10, 1986, Benazir Bhutto ended her self-imposed exile and arrived in Lahore to launch her struggle against Ziaul haq,” said Bilawal.
The PPP chairman said that on April 10, 2022, the person who was declared “selected” by the Opposition and proved himself to be an “undemocratic burden” on the country saw the end of his rule.
“Today [on] April 20, 2022, we welcome [you] back to the purana Pakistan,” said Bilawal
What happened in NA from April 9 to 10
The historic and crucial session of the National Assembly (NA) session to decide the fate of Khan was held on April 9, as per the Supreme Court’s orders given on April 8. However, Khan never showed up.
Voting on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran has begun as PML-N Ayaz Sadiq chaired the session. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser resigned from his post on Saturday, saying he could not take part in a foreign conspiracy to oust the prime minister.
Before announcing his resignation, Qaiser said that he had received “important documents” from the cabinet, which he invited the leader of the opposition and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to see. “In line with our laws and the need to stand for our country, I have decided that I can’t remain on the position of the speaker and thereby resign,” he said. Because this is a national duty and it is the Supreme Court’s decision, I will ask the panel chairman Ayaz Sadiq to run the session.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial open the Supreme Court’s doors in light of the current political situation. The chief justice instructed the relevant officials of the top court to open the doors at 12am, as the National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser was yet to allow voting on the no-confidence motion against PM Khan.
Meanwhile, Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) doors opened on the instructions of IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.
Prior to this, the NA session was adjourned again and was expected to resume at 9:30pm after Isha prayers. The latest adjournment was the fourth of the day as the Opposition’s clamour for immediate voting throughout the day has fallen on deaf ears.
Speaker NA Asad Qaiser delayed the session until 12:30pm, but the break had been prolonged and the voting is now expected to take place at 8pm, i.e. after iftaar.The NA session resumed at 2:32pm. However, the session was also adjourned for Asar and Maghrib prayers.
Shehbaz Sharif takes the floor:
The session started at 10:30am today with Quranic recitation, followed by naat recitation. At 10:40am, the national anthem was played.
At 10:43am, Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif took to the floor of the House and started addressing. He called on NA Speaker Asad Qaiser to conduct proceedings in accordance with SC directives, stating that the parliament would be writing history today. “Today, parliament is going to defeat a selected prime minister in a constitutional manner,” he declared.
Shehbaz urged the Speaker to play his role and to have his name “written in history in golden words”.
“You must cash in on this moment with conviction and with your heart and your mind. Don’t follow the dictation of a selected prime minister,” he urged Qaiser, adding that the apex court’s directives were clear.
Qaiser interjected the Opposition leader and said that he would conduct proceedings according to the law and the Constitution.
“[But] the important thing is that there has been discussion of an international conspiracy. This should also be discussed,” said Qaiser.
On this, Shehbaz told Qaiser that he would be violating the law and order of the SC.
“Under the court’s directives, you are bound to take up this agenda item and no other item. That is the intent of the order and you cannot deviate from it,” he said, calling on the Speaker to hold voting on the motion forthwith.
“The SC’s orders will be followed in true letter and spirit,” Qaiser replied, giving the floor to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Foreign Minister Qureshi addresses the floor of the House
At 10:51am Qureshi took to the floor and accepted that according to the Constitution, it is the right of the Opposition to submit a no-confidence motion, while it is the government’s responsibility to defend itself from the motion.
Citing PM Khan’s April 8 address to the nation, Qureshi said that just like the premier said, although we are disappointed with Supreme Court’s judgment but respected the court’s orders. He added that NA proceedings were being conducted in accordance with the directives issued by the court.
“Today is Saturday and the session has started at 10:30am. The court said the session will not be prorogued unless the process of Article 95 and rule 37 is concluded.”
Highlighting the seriousness of the “threat letter” controversy, Qureshi said: “The National Security Committee (NSC) took two decisions. First, they acknowledged there was interference in Pakistan’s internal matters and that a demarche must be issued,” he said, adding that the Foreign Office followed these directives.
“The second was to immediately summon the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and for the matter to be presented before elected representatives,” he said, adding that the Opposition was also invited.
Session adjourned till 12:30pm
The Opposition benches started protesting and shouting. Shah Mahmood Qureshi asked why they were “nervous”. Meanwhile, the Opposition continued to chant the slogan “voting karwao, voting karwao” during Qureshi’s speech. Amidst all this ruckus, Qaiser at11:03am adjourned the session till 12:30pm.
Number of Opposition members
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Marriyum Aurangzeb tweeted the total number of Opposition members present in NA.
Meanwhile, the session was to start at 12:30pm, but it has still not started.
Voting will take place at 8:00pm: reports
Journalist Nasim Zehra, who is currently inside Parliament, has tweeted that the Speaker is reportedly going to return by 2:00pm to announce that the voting will take place at 8:00pm.
Bilawal holds Qureshi responsible for PM’s troubles
Bilawal began by telling Niazi he was violating the Constitution and the court’s orders. “You cannot take up anything else except for what is on the agenda. Not only you, but the speaker also did the same,” he told him, demanding that voting is held on the no-confidence motion.
Turning his guns on PM Imran, Bilawal said that the premier was breaking the law on his way out of office. “If you want to be involved in it, then it’s your choice. But I had warned the prime minister to stay away from the man speaking before me,” he said, referring to the foreign minister.
The PPP chairman alleged that FM Qureshi was responsible for the premier’s troubles, again calling for voting to be held on the no-confidence motion. “If you don’t come to today’s agenda, then you should know that the opposition will not leave […] we will snatch our constitutional rights from you.”
‘SC’s ruling interference in proceedings of Parliament’: Asad Umar
Planning Minister Asad Umar claimed that the Supreme Court’s declaration of the deputy speaker’s ruling was “interference in the proceedings of the Parliament.” “If Supreme Court has to decide on which day and at what time the session will be summoned then we should do away with assembly,” said Umar. He added that the apex court’s decision was “an interference in Parliament’s matters”.
“Would it have been right if the Parliament had intervened in Supreme Court’s matters?” asked Umar. He also questioned whether it would have been right if the Parliament decided which judge comes and goes in the Parliament.
Zardari calls for voting on no-trust motion
In his speech, former president Asif Ali Zardari said, “I just want to make a request to hold voting on the no-confidence motion. Don’t waste time.” He said that the stock market rose after the apex court issued its verdict while the dollar also fell, once again calling on the speaker to hold the vote.
“I don’t want to go to the court against you tomorrow. We have to live in Pakistan. We have to maintain links with every political party. So hold the vote and end this. Let’s move forward so that Pakistan can prosper,” he told Qaiser.
‘Opposition is a part of US conspiracy’
Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari’s speech revolved around the alleged US influence on Pakistani politics. “It is this nation’s misfortune that America has always been successful in [changing] the leaders of Pakistan.”
The Supreme Court had on Thursday, April 8, ordered the government to hold voting on the motion on Saturday, April 9, at all costs according to the agenda issued for April 3 session when the deputy speaker rejected the motion through a ruling declaring it “unconstitutional” and a “foreign conspiracy”.
The top court’s directives came after Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial took suo motu notice of Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s ruling and the subsequent dissolution of the assembly, declaring all the decisions unconstitutional.
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