No Trust Vote: Speaker convenes crucial National Assembly session on 25th

ISLAMABAD: A crucial session of the National Assembly to deliberate on the no-trust motion moved against the prime minister by the multi-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance of opposition groups will be held on March 25.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser summoned the session, 41st meeting of the current legislative assembly, at 11:00 am, a notification issued from the House secretariat on Sunday.

The motion seeking the ouster of Imran Khan was submitted to the office of the speaker on March 8. It accused him of mismanaging the economy and poor governance in the toughest challenge he has faced since taking power in 2018.

According to Article 54 of the Constitution, once a session of the National Assembly has been requisitioned with signatures of at least 25 percent of the MPs on it, the speaker has a maximum of two weeks to do the same.

Therefore, Qaiser had to call the House in session by March 22.

Last week, the opposition parties termed the conduct of Qaiser “partisan” and demanded that he should not preside over the session on the fateful day of voting.

The reaction from the opposition came in response to a speech by the speaker in Swabi in which he defended Khan, declared that members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party would fight the opposition’s move — that he said would fail — with full force.

With the help of several smaller parties, PTI holds a narrow majority in the National Assembly. It has 179 seats in the 342-member House, only seven more than required for a simple majority.

If none of the MPs from the ranks of the prime minister’s allies or the PTI vote against him, he will likely succeed. However, the PTI is currently facing a split because of an internal revolt by some members.

The opposition, on the other hand, has 162 members and needs a simple majority of 172 to topple the government.

Should Khan fail to win approval, the parliament will have to choose a new prime minister.

Khan has vowed to fight any move to unseat him. “Whatever they do, I’m ready for that,” he told a gathering in Islamabad last week.

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