Pakistan’s National Assembly will meet on Monday to elect a new prime minister, according to reports, after Imran Khan lost the midnight trust vote and was ousted. He is said to be the only prime minister in the country who has lost a no confidence motion on his way out (even though no Pakistan PM has ever completed a full term in 75 years of its history). The parliament’s rare midnight vote on Saturday comes weeks after the opposition submitted the no confidence motion on March 8. The 69-year-old cricket star-politician – accused of derailing the national economy – had alleged a “foreign conspiracy” amid mounting criticism. He even named a US diplomat in the midst of the controversy. Shehbaz Sharif is the choice of the opposition for Khan’s replacement.
Here are ten points on the unceremonious exit of Imran Khan and Pakistan’s political crisis:
1. In a highly dramatic turn of events, a 13-hour assembly session on Saturday came to an end with the no trust vote finally taking place. The National Assembly – dissolved days ago by president Arif Alvi – reconvened on Saturday following the Supreme Court intervention.
2. Pakistan added another turbulent day to its history as Asad Qaisar, a member of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, resigned in key late-night developments as the assembly speaker. He had adjourned the parliament at least thrice in the day according to reports.
3. Later, Ayaz Sadiq of the opposition party, PML-N, chaired the session and presided over the no-trust vote. 174 votes were cast in favour of the motion and zero against. Khan needed 172 votes in the 342-member assembly to survive.
4. The rapid political developments came after the Supreme Court said last week’s rejection of a trust vote by deputy assembly speaker Qasim Suri, another member of the PTI, was ‘unconstitutional’.
5. On Saturday, Pakistan’s chief justice had agreed to open the doors of the top court at midnight after the motion was again delayed, local media reported.
6. “Prayers of crores of Pakistanis have been accepted by the almighty. All members of the united opposition are thankful to Allah,” Shehbaz Sharif was quoted as saying in reports in parliament after Khan’s unceremonious exit.
7. Imran Khan did not attend the assembly session on Saturday. He was absent last week too when Qasim Suri refused to take up the motion and adjourned the assembly within minutes. Later, Khan called for fresh polls.