Incumbent premier secures 178 votes, two more than he won in the 2018 elections
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday secured a vote of confidence in Pakistan’s National Assembly, securing 178 seats against the 172 required to ensure he remain in power.
A foregone conclusion after the opposition decided to boycott the session—and the government warned its party members of disqualification if they voted against Khan—the referendum was called by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government after its candidate for the general Senate seat from Islamabad, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, lost to the opposition’s Yousaf Raza Gilani.
The total strength of the National Assembly is 342 members. The opposition enjoys the support of 160 members, while the government has 180 for a total of 340. Two seats are currently vacant.
According to the breakdown of the parliamentarians in attendance, 155 PTI lawmakers voted in favor of the prime minister. Additionally, seven lawmakers from the MQM-P; five each from the Balochistan Awami Party and the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid); three from the Grand Democratic Alliance; and one each from the Awami Muslim League and the Jamhoori Watan Party voted in favor of Khan. One independent candidate also expressed confidence in Khan.
The session started at 12:15 p.m. with a recitation from the holy Quran. This was followed by the national anthem and the tabling of the government’s single-point agenda. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tabled the resolution on which voting would be held, with National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser reading out rules on the voting process.
According to the resolution tabled by Qureshi, the treasury was voting in favor or against the “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.”
As the National Assembly proceedings began, the situation outside Parliament Lodges became violent as dozens of PTI supporters clashed with leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) who were addressing a press conference.
Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, as well as PMLN leaders Ahsan Iqbal, Musaddiq Malik, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Khurram Dastagir were condemning the vote of confidence when the PTI workers tried to drown them by shouting slogans in favor of Khan. Video footage of the site shows the PMLN leaders being harassed by the protesters, prompting them to question why no security was present to prevent any untoward incident.