Pakistani PM Khan wins vote of confidence amid opposition boycott

Pakistani PM Khan wins vote of confidence amid opposition boycott

7 March 2021 12:16 pm

 Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has won a vote of confidence that he sought from the lower house of parliament, following a surprise electoral defeat on a Senate seat earlier this week.

Khan is the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which leads a ruling coalition, and was elected to power in a general election in 2018.

The prime minister received 178 votes reposing confidence in his leadership in the 342-member National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, Speaker Asad Qaiser said following Saturday’s vote.

“Consequently, Mr Imran Khan has obtained the vote of confidence from the National Assembly and commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the National Assembly as the prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” he said.

On Friday, the opposition’s 10-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) announced that it would boycott the vote, and the opposition benches were almost entirely deserted throughout the proceedings on Saturday.

Mohsin Dawar, an independent candidate and leader in the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) rights group, was the sole member of the opposition present in the house during the vote.

The vote will help shore up Khan’s hold on power, following the defeat of his finance minister, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, to the opposition’s Yusuf Raza Gilani in a Senate race on Wednesday.

Addressing the house following the vote, a defiant Khan attacked the opposition for alleged corruption and demanded the Election Commission conduct an inquiry into the Senate race, including taking “a secret briefing from Pakistan’s [intelligence] agencies”.