Prime Minister Imran Khan - File Photo
Prime Minister Imran Khan - File Photo

APP Digital

ISLAMABAD, Mar 6 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday sailed through the vote of confidence from the National Assembly, after getting 178 votes, only two days after his party lost a crucial seat in the Senate election.

The opposition alliance chose to stay away from the process, boycotted the session, but watched the proceedings from the Sindh House. The joint eleven-party alliance under the banner of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) won a general seat for the Senate for former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani against the ruling party candidate, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, with a five-vote victory.

Prime Minister Imran Khan volunteered to get a vote of confidence from the Parliament House after his Finance Minister failed to get the required votes. However, another female PTI candidate won the seat from Islamabad, setting off alarm bells in the ruling PTI which suspected foul play and blamed the PPP leader for “purchasing” the votes.

Imran Khan required 172 votes to win the confidence vote in the 342-member House. The ruling coalition had 181 members but after the resignation of Faisal Vawda, the number strength dropped to 180, while the opposition coalition has 160 members in the House.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar announced the result and said Imran Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan after securing 176 votes in August 2018, and “MashAllah today he has got 178 votes.”

The House erupted in jubilation by the members, who shouted slogans “Prime Minister Imran Khan”. This is the first time that a prime minister has gone for a vote of confidence after the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

The PTI parliamentarians had brought with them placards showing pictures of Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif and inscribed with “Give Respect to Vote, Not Note”.

Earlier the prime minister arrived at the National Assembly before the commencement of the 30th session. The proceedings with Speaker Asad Qaiser in the chair began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, and the National Anthem was played.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tabled a resolution in the House, and the Speaker read out the details of the process for the members. Bells were rung for five minutes and the Speaker read out the resolution, triggering a long thumping of the desks.

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The five-vote victory in the Federal Capital’s Senate election brought the defining moment in the otherwise battle of narratives going on for months between the government and the PDM.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi reading out the resolution for vote of confidence in the National Assembly
Shah Mahmood Qureshi reading out the resolution for vote of confidence in the National Assembly

The Resolution:

“That this House reposes confidence in the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr. Imran Khan, as required under clause (7) of Article 91 of the Constitution Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

NA Resolution

Article 91 (7) of Constitution of Pakistan
Article 91 (7) of the Constitution of Pakistan

The Prime Minister took the vote of confidence under Article 91 (7) of the Constitution of Pakistan.

PTI workers at the Parliament House gate to express solidarity with Prime Minister Imran Khan
PTI workers at the Parliament House gate to express solidarity with Prime Minister Imran Khan

Meanwhile, thousands of enthusiastic PTI supporters gathered at the D-Chowk – the Parliament Square that got fame after the 126-day sit-in against the PML-N government, to express solidarity with their leader.

The workers traveled on their own from far-off places to support the cause of Prime Minister Imran Khan against corruption and to rid the country of the rot, from what he says was a corrupt political elite, whose sole objective was to serve only its personal interests.

A PTI worker on wheelchair at the D-Chowk
A PTI worker on wheelchair at the D-Chowk

However, an unpleasant incident was also witnessed as, despite the social media and news channels abuzz with reports that the PTI workers would gather in front of the Parliament House, to express solidarity with Imran Khan, the PML-N leadership decided to talk to the media at the same time.

The angry PTI workers raised slogans against the PML-N leaders and stood behind them with banners, “We stand with Imran Khan”, “Say No to Corrupt Practices” and “Give Respect to Vote, Not Note”. They also raised slogans of “Chor Chor” – Thief Thief, which infuriated the PML-N leaders.

Video clips shared on social media clearly showed former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Musadiq Malik chasing, hitting, and kicking PTI workers in front of the Parliament Lodges. Young workers were seen running away, while others tried to restrain the senior PML-N leaders.

The PTI workers blamed the PML-N leaders for deliberately provoking them by using strong offensive words against them and their leaders.

“Why did they choose to talk to the press when they knew the PTI workers were angry over the way the opposition was manipulating the system to cover their corrupt practices,” said Ahmed Rashid a PTI worker who said he along with his friends had traveled at night from Bahawalpur to stand with Imran Khan.

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Video clips also showed a shoe being hurled on the PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, as he made victory signs, as PTI workers shouted slogans of “Chor Chor.”

A video clip shared by the BBC Urdu News showed Khaqan Abbasi trying to restrain Musaddiq Malik, while Mariam Aurangzeb shouting at the protesters.

The former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was heard challenging live on news channels the PTI workers raising slogans and challenged them to come forward. He was heard shouting that he would send them back on hospital stretchers.

The PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif appreciated the leaders who she said stood steadfast against the crowd

Enthusiastic workers raised slogans against the corrupt mafia and particularly what they said was the “despicable” use of dirty money for the purchase of votes for the Senate polls.

Raising slogans of Pakistan Zindabad and “we stand with Imran Khan”, the charged crowd danced to popular songs as they heard about the success of “The Kaptaan” in the crucial vote of confidence.

The PTI workers had gathered, without any formal call from the leadership as they followed the hashtags #ڈٹ_کے_کھڑا_ہے_کپتان [Captain stands firm], #BehindYouSkipper, #PrimeMinisterImranKhan, #VoteOfConfidence, #DChowk, #ہم_سب_کا_فیصلہ_عمران_خان

-Reporting by Shafek Koreshe