Vote of Confidence: The Agenda for Today’s National Assembly Session

Vote of Confidence: The Agenda for Today's National Assembly Session

• The session is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m. with a single-point agenda to reaffirm the Prime Minister’s trust.
• The PM would require 172 votes in the 342-seat House to maintain his confidence. PDM is planning a boycott of the meeting.

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: In a special National Assembly session scheduled for today, Prime Minister Imran Khan will request a vote of confidence to demonstrate that he still has the backing of the majority of MPs.
According to a statement from the National Assembly Secretariat, the session will start at 12:15 p.m. and will have a single-point agenda to reaffirm trust in the prime minister.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will introduce a resolution in the House that will be voted on. “That this House reposes trust in the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr Imran Khan, as required by clause (7) of Article 91 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” according to the resolution.

To keep his seat in the 342-seat House, Imran wants 172 votes. He could get as much as 180 votes in his favour if none of his MPs or coalition allies vote against him. In the House of Commons, the PTI has 157 members.

After his finance advisor Abdul Hafeez Sheikh lost a high-profile Senate seat race, the prime minister agreed to hold a vote on Wednesday (March 3).

“Imran Khan and the party have agreed that the prime minister would seek a vote of confidence from the Assembly,” Qureshi said at a press conference later that day.

Imran made his decision after allegations that the opposition alliance bribed several MPs from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to vote for former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, who was fielded by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in the Senate elections in Islamabad against Sheikh.

Gillani had won by a margin of 169 to 164 votes over Shaikh.

Since the passing of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in 2010, this is the first time a prime minister has done so.Prior to the 18th amendment, a prime minister had to ask the Assembly for a vote of confidence within 30 days of being elected.

Following the amendment, however, such a procedure is no longer needed. In particular, the president “shall not exercise his powers under this provision until he is sure that the prime minister does not command the confidence of the majority” in the House, according to clause 7 of Article 91 of the Constitution.

The opposition coalition declared yesterday that it would cancel the conference. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who also leads the PDM, declared at a press conference that the alliance would boycott the session.

He said Gillani’s win was a vote of no confidence in the premier.

“So when the president talks about losing trust to call the session of the National Assembly, then this further strengthens the stance of the opposition,” he declared.

After the opposition’s boycott of the session, Fazl said, “this session will have no political importance” and the PTI government “will not be considered the representative government of this nation”.

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