Islamabad: Pakistan National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri on Sunday dismissed a no-trust motion against embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan, terming it against Article 5 of the Constitution.
Suri chaired the crucial session after opposition parties filed a no-confidence motion against Speaker Asad Qaiser.
Opposition lawmakers, who earlier appeared confident of the success of the no-trust move as they made their way to Parliament House, protested against the decision.
The Opposition parties need 172 members of the 342-member National Assembly to orchestrate the defeat of Khan and already they have claimed the support of 177 members, more than the needed strength to oust the prime minister.
The combined opposition filed the no-confidence motion on March 8, setting a set of events leading to the day of voting and rise in the tension due to Khan’s insistence that he was being targeted as part of the “foreign conspiracy” with the collaboration of top opposition leaders.
Khan, 69, on Saturday issued a call to the followers of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, especially the youth, to hold “peaceful protests” on the day of voting to reject the conspiracy and assembly proceeding to topple the government.
He earlier described the rebel lawmakers as “traitors” and said that they will be branded as such for the rest of their lives as he pleaded with them to come back and foil the Opposition’s attempt to topple his government.
Khan, who had earlier asked his party lawmakers not to attend the no-confidence session, has now ordered them to participate in the proceedings and mount a vociferous defence of their prime minister.
Khan, who came to power in 2018 with promises to create a ‘Naya Pakistan’, is at a critical juncture of his political career as he has lost majority after defection from his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Two of his allied parties also withdrew their support and joined the ranks of the rejuvenated Opposition.