Pakistan PM Imran Khan Likely to Survive No-Confidence Motion Even as Allies Look to Ditch Him

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In a secret meeting with three core commanders, the DG ISI Lt General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum and Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, PM Imran Khan requested not to remove him as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

In the closed-door meeting, PM Khan also discussed issues like border tension with India, international scenario, among others, said sources.

Suggesting a way out, PM Khan was advised to hold early elections around October-November. After the elections, the new PM will appoint a new chief of the Army.

PM Khan is set to make the announcements during a rally on March 27.

The allied parties of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are expected to announce that they are not supporting anyone, including the Opposition parties. Therefore, a no confidence motion will become null and void as the 172-member house not be available when allied don’t show their support to any one – ruling or opposition.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court’s ruling on 63 and 63A will come on Monday. The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that every member of the National Assembly has the right to vote and the government cannot do anything to stop them even if they are from the ruling PTI.

The country’s top court added that if they oppose the direction of the party’s Chairman, then they will be disqualified one week after the voting.

On the other hand, Army chief Bajwa is reportedly satisfied over Faiz not being considered for the position of new Army Chief and in fact the latter will be shifted to GHQ with a junior role around May-June this year.

Khan on Wednesday had said he will not resign at any cost and claimed to have a “surprise” up his sleeve for the opposition, even as at least three allies of the ruling coalition have indicated to vote against his government during a no-trust motion which would come up for discussion in Parliament later this month. “I will not resign under any circumstance. I will play till the last ball (…) and I will surprise them (opposition) a day before as they are still under pressure,” Prime Minister Khan said, without revealing further details.

He said the Opposition has laid all of their cards, but the no-confidence motion against him would not be successful. “My trump card is that I have not laid any of my cards yet,” he said confidently. “No one should be under the false impression that I will sit at home. I will not resign, and why should I? Should I resign due to the pressure from thieves?” he said while referring to the opposition leaders’ no-trust vote against him.

Around 100 lawmakers from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) submitted the no-confidence motion before the National Assembly Secretariat on March 8, alleging that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf: government led by Prime Minister Khan was responsible for the economic crisis and the spiralling inflation in the country. On Sunday, the National Assembly Secretariat issued a notification, paving the way for holding the key session on Friday.

Khan also said it was wrong to consistently attack and criticise the army as a powerful military was crucial for Pakistan. “Had the army not been here, the country would have split into three parts.” “The army should not be criticised for politicking,” he said. The prime minister also said his statement on neutrality was taken in the “wrong context”.

“I said that in the context of preventing evil and asking people to do good.” Khan said he has good relations with the military to date. The powerful army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 73 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.

Earlier this month, the powerful army distanced itself from the brewing political situation in the country, saying it has nothing to do with politics. Meanwhile, at least three allies, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), the Pakistan Muslims League-Quaid (PML-Q) and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) with their 17 members have indicated to join the Opposition, Geo News reported.

Citing sources, it said that the MQM-P, the PML-Q and the BAP have decided to part ways ahead of the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Khan and an announcement would be made on March 25. “They (MQM-P) will announce that they are with us in a day or two. After meeting the MQM-P leadership, I am completely satisfied that the no-confidence motion will be successful,” the head of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), Maulana Fazlur Rehman, told the media.

Khan, 69, is heading a coalition government and he can be removed if some of the partners decide to switch sides. In the 342-member National Assembly, the Opposition needs 172 votes to remove Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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