Prime Minister Imran Khan is facing a no-confidence resolution tabled by the joint opposition in the National Assembly. No prime minister has ever lost a no-trust vote brought by the opposition. Both Benazir Bhutto and Shaukat Aziz won trust vote by considerable margin.
Benazir Bhutto was the first Pakistan Prime Minister to face a no-confidence motion in 1989 but she survived as the opposition was short of 12 votes. The trust vote was brought in by Nawaz Sharif and garnered 107 votes, while Benazir Bhutto got 125 votes. Five members were absent from voting. Following the trust vote, Benazir Bhutto said it was time for reflection and her government would work harmoniously.
The second no-trust motion was brought in 2006 against Shaukat Aziz, in which the opposition failed. The motion needed 172 votes to win but got only 136 votes while the prime minister won 201 votes.
So, if Imran Khan faces the no-trust vote today as scheduled, he will be the third prime minister in the history of Pakistan to be facing the motion. But if he loses the trust vote, he will be the first one.
If the trust vote actually takes place, it will be an interesting one as the opposition claims it has the support of 175 lawmakers, while the majority mark is 172. Imran Khan has dropped hints that he has more than one plan in place and may not accept the trust vote to oust him.
“There are two routes we can take. Do we want to take the way of destruction or a path of pride? There will be difficulties in this path but this is the path of our Prophet. This path is for our good. This path brought a revolution in the country,” he said in an apparent message that he may not choose to face the trust vote.
Pakistan interior minister Sheikh Rashid said even if Imran Khan loses the trust vote, he will continue to be the prime minister until a new leader is elected and sworn in. The law is silent on how long the process can take, the minister said, while the opposition has been demanding that if Imran Khan loses the trust vote, he will have to resign immediately.
The premier’s term ends in 2023 and an early election is an option Imran Khan and his government was pushing for.