iNDICA News Bureau-
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from power early Sunday when he lost the vote on a motion of no-confidence moved by Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif), in the National Assembly.
The National Assembly session, which began 10:30 am Saturday, was adjourned several times in the course of the day as Imran Khan and his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, tried desperately to cling to power.
Saturday’s session was called after the Supreme Court negated Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s earlier decision to disallow the no-confidence motion as unconstitutional and ordered the country’s parliament to debate the motion and vote on it.
Yet, news reports suggested Speaker Asad Qaiser was refusing to allow the parliamentarians to vote on the motion even after several hours of the session. According to some sources, Qaiser said his ties with Imran Khan go back 30 years and he could not allow the vote to take place.
The speaker and the deputy speaker ultimately resigned before the voting began and the country’s only World Cup-winning cricket captain, who had vowed to stay on till the last ball was bowled, was declared out.
During the day fears of a military coup were also stoked when reports of the prime minister dismissing army chief Gen Qamar Ahmed Bajwa came in. A plea was quickly filed in the Islamabad High Court seeking to avoid imposition of martial law. According to Geo News, if the top court’s order is not followed anywhere in the country, the high court of that particular jurisdiction takes notice of the situation.
“Does the prime minister have the power to remove the army chief without substantial reasoning (…) the Supreme Court, in its order, had written that any steps of the premier will be in line with the court’s decision,” the plea filed by advocate Adnan Iqbal said. “…can the Prime Minister remove the army chief to meet his political ends?” the plea asked.
Prime Minister Khan later denied that he had dismissed the chief of army staff. He also held an emergency meeting of the federal cabinet in the evening. Federal ministers Pervez Khattak, Asad Umar, Shireen Mazari and others arrived at the prime minister’s house for the meeting, which began shortly after 9 pm.
Federal Science Minister Shibli Faraz later told reporters that a “surprise” was discussed at the meeting. He did not say what the surprise was. He did say, however, that the cabinet did not discuss mass resignations.
Meanwhile, Khan’s government also filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its decision to reject the deputy speaker’s decision on the no-confidence motion as unconstitutional.
Khan has called for street demonstrations when a new ‘imported’ government takes office, most probably Sunday. He has been claiming for the past several days that the United States has been seeking his ouster because of his outreach to Russia.