March 31, 2022
The game seems to be over for Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan with main ally Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) striking a deal with the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ahead of the all-important trust vote in the first week of April.
Sources told News18 that ministers from the MQM-P, whose support would have been vital to keep Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in power, will resign from the cabinet at 12:30pm. If they resign, Imran Khan will lose majority in the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan parliament, and the opposition numbers would swell to 180.
Speculation is also rife that in this scenario, Imran Khan will resign as Pakistan PM outside parliament ahead of the no-confidence motion. Imran Khan had on Tuesday directed PTI lawmakers to either abstain from voting or not attend the National Assembly session on the day of voting on the no-confidence motion.
No Prime Minister in Pakistan’s history has ever been ousted through a no-confidence motion, and Khan is the third premier to face the challenge. In fact, no Pakistani Prime Minister has ever completed a full five-year term in office.
Khan needs 172 votes in the 342-member house to survive in power. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid has said that the voting on the no-confidence motion will be held on April 3.
Khan has blamed a “foreign-funded conspiracy” for trying to topple his government. China is a long-time supporter and Pakistan, a traditional ally of the West, abstained from voting as the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly reprimanded Russia for invading Ukraine.
Nearly 20 defections in Khan’s ruling party and cracks in his coalition partners have made him short of the 172 votes, a simple majority, needed to hold on to power.
The opposition and analysts say the prime minister has fallen out with the powerful military, which mostly determines who will rule, a charge both Khan and the military deny.