Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday won a vote of confidence in the National Assembly amid opposition violence, cementing the legitimacy of his government following the disgraceful defeat of the finance minister in a hotly contested election.
Prime Minister Khan defended 178 votes in the lower 342 House of Representatives during a special session called by President Arif Alvi. It took 172 votes to get a simple majority.
The by-elections took place outside the Opposition as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – an 11-party coalition – boycotted the polls.
The 68-year-old politician has decided to vote in Parliament after Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh lost the most recent Senate election on Wednesday. Opposition parties have stated they will not run in the by-elections.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi presented a one-point decision to the House.
“That this House restores confidence in the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr Imran Khan, as required under subsection (7) of Article 91 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the ruling said.
172 votes are needed for a 342-member House to get a simple majority. The ruling coalition had 181 members but after the resignation of one of the legislators, Faisal Vowda, its powers decreased to 180. The opposition coalition has 160 members in the House. One seat was empty.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) decision that had 157 members in the NA but following the resignation of Vowda, now has 156 members in the National Assembly. The ruling party has said Vowda could vote during the pledge as his resignation has not yet been accepted. However, the Opposition insisted that he could not vote as he had sent a letter of resignation.
The ruling party includes seven members from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), five each from the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), three from the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and one from the AML and JWP.
On Friday, Prime Minister Khan chaired a parliamentary party meeting at the Prime Minister’s House (PMH) where all members of the National Assembly (MNAs) of the federation had been asked to vote for the prime minister or they would be ousted.
According to a Cabinet member, 175 members of the ruling coalition attended a parliamentary party meeting at the PMH.
Khan also held various meetings with leaders of cooperatives. All affiliated parties – MQM, PML-Q and GDA pledged their support.