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Roving Periscope: Amid Opposition boycott, Imran wins “trust vote”

Roving Periscope: Amid Opposition boycott, Imran wins “trust vote”

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Virendra Pandit 

New Delhi: Amid the Opposition’s boycott, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi won the “trust vote” in the Aiwan-e-Zairin  (National Assembly) on Saturday, ending political uncertainty in the volatile South Asian nation which has been experimenting with democracy under the shadows of the Army for decades.

Cricketer-turned-politician Khan, 68, secured 178 votes in the 342-member Lower House of Parliament where the Opposition benches were deserted.

The PM needed the support of 171 lawmakers in the National Assembly, which currently has 341 members as one seat is vacant.

On Thursday, 179 members attended the meeting he had called for MPs of his party and coalition partners. He also wrote an ‘emotional’ letter to them which the Opposition said showed his “nervousness”.

The announcement to boycott the trust vote was made by Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam (JUI) chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman.

The floor test took place without the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of 11 Opposition parties, as they boycotted the voting, making the exercise sham.

In the face of the PDM’s mounting pressure for his resignation, Khan had sought a vote of confidence in a bid to restore his Army-backed government’s legitimacy. President Arif Alvi had called the Assembly’s special session.

On Thursday, he had announced to seek a vote of confidence after his finance minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was defeated in the closely-fought Senate election held a day before. The Opposition demanded the Prime Minister’s resignation after the debacle.

PDM candidate and former PM Yusuf Raza Gilani defeated Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party candidate Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, giving a major blow to the PM who had personally campaigned for his Cabinet colleague.

The PDM has since September 2020 been campaigning to topple the Khan government which it alleged came to power after rigging of elections in 2018.



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