The National Assembly will meet at 11:30 am on Sunday (today) to vote on the no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan tabled by the joint opposition on March 8.
The day to determine the premier’s future is finally here after a series of incidents and multiple shifts in the country’s political scenario.
The prime minister himself will attend the crucial session of the lower house to be presided over by Speaker Asad Qaiser.
PM Imran is confident that he will defeat the no-confidence motion against him as he has announced “to fight till the last ball.”
VIOLENCE: It is alleged that the government and the PTI leadership have decided to incite violence in the federal capital during the vote on no-trust resolution.
Senior journalist Hamid Mir quoted sources as saying that the government and PTI leadership have decided to stop the opposition lawmakers from exiting the parliament lodges and entering the lower house.
Whether they enter the assembly or even if they are outside, they will be beaten, Mir claimed.
Earlier, PM Imran had called on the youth to protest for two days — Saturday and Sunday — against a “foreign conspiracy” being hatched against his government.
DENIAL: However, the Prime Minister’s House contradicted the report. “The Prime Minister’s Office strongly denies the news and strongly condemns such a one-sided propaganda campaign,” said a statement issued by the PM Office.
“Baseless news is being aired on a media channel regarding the no-confidence motion, according to which the opposition members of the National Assembly will be prevented from reaching the lower house tomorrow.
“The Prime Minister firmly believes in the democratic process and opposes any unconstitutional move,” it added.
THE SESSION: According to local media, the lawmakers have started reaching the assembly for the crucial session. The security in the capital has been heightened and there is only one way open to reach assembly that is choked due to rush of parliamentarians and assembly staff.
THE PROCEDURE: Of the total 342 members of the assembly, a prime minister is elected by securing 172 or more votes. The premier would continue if the opposition fails to produce 172 or more lawmakers in the assembly for any reason.
If PM Imran loses the vote, parliament would continue to function and the lawmakers in the National Assembly will elect a new prime minister to serve until August 2023, after which a general election is due within 60 days. However, the new premier can go for early elections .
Though the opposition parties have shown their strength in the assembly in the previous session and insisted on voting on the motion without having the support of PTI’s disgruntled members, the deputy speaker had adjourned the session for Sunday at 11:30am.
Under clause (2) of Article 95 (vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister) of the Constitution, “a resolution referred to in clause (1) shall not be voted upon before the expiration of three days, or later than seven days, from the day on which such resolution is moved in the National Assembly.” Clause (4) of Article 95 adds that “If the resolution referred to in clause (1) is passed by a majority of the total membership of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister shall cease to hold office.”
Rule 37 (6) (Resolution for a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister) of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007, also state that “the resolution shall not be voted upon before the expiry of three days, or later than seven days, from the day on which the resolution is moved in the Assembly.”
The Second Schedule of the NA rules defines the procedure for recording votes. Before voting commences, it states, that the speaker shall direct that the bells be rung for five minutes to enable members not present in the chamber to be present. Immediately after the bells stop ringing, all the entrances to the Lobby shall be locked and the Assembly staff posted at each entrance shall not allow any entry or exit through those entrances until the voting has concluded.
It adds that, “the Speaker shall then read out the resolution before the assembly and ask the members who wish to vote in favour of the resolution to pass in single file through the entrance where tellers shall be posted to record the votes. On reaching the desk of the tellers, each member shall, in turn, call out the division number allotted to him under the rules.
The tellers shall then mark off his number on the division list simultaneously calling out the name of the member. In order to ensure that his vote has been properly recorded, the member shall not move off until he has clearly heard the teller call out his name. After a member has recorded his vote, he shall not return to the Chamber until bells are rung under paragraph 3.
“When the Speaker finds that all the members who wished to vote have recorded their votes, he shall announce that the voting has concluded. Thereupon the Secretary shall cause the division list to be collected, count the recorded votes and present the result of the count to the Speaker.
The Speaker shall then direct that the bells be rung for two minutes to enable the members to return to the Chamber. After the bells stop ringing, the Speaker shall announce the result to the Assembly,” it adds.