Thursday, May 19

Parliament prevents voting on a motion of censure in Pakistan and the president dissolves the House and calls elections

The Parliament of Pakistan has prevented this Sunday from voting on the motion of censure against the Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, assuring that it goes against the Constitution, and immediately afterwards the country’s president, Arif Alvi, has dissolved the Lower House, for so new elections are called.

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The vice president of the National Assembly (Lower House), Qasim Suri, has dismissed the motion of censure, assuring that it goes against article 5-A of the Constitution, which refers to the loyalty of every Pakistani citizen to the State.

“I sentence that the motion of censure contradicts the Constitution and the sovereignty of the country and goes against the rules and procedures,” Suri said in his ruling, preventing the opposition from voting on an initiative against Khan for which he claimed he had the support enough to overthrow him.

The prime minister later addressed the nation in a televised message, in which he reported that he had asked the Pakistani president, Arif Alvi, to dissolve the National Assembly to call early elections.

Former Justice Minister Fawad Chaudhry reported on Twitter that “under article 224, the cabinet has been dissolved and the prime minister will continue with his duties.” Several Pakistani media reported for their part that the president had dissolved the National Assembly, although there is still no official confirmation.

The main opposition leader, Shehbaz Sharif, who had been chosen as a candidate to replace Khan as the new prime minister, has declared what happened “high treason” and has assured in a message on Twitter that the president “has pushed the country to anarchy.” He has also asked the Supreme Court to act on what he has declared to be a “flagrant and blatant violation of the Constitution”.

It was the second motion of censure that Khan faced in the last year, after winning in March 2021 in a vote of confidence requested by him after a vote that was boycotted by his opponents.

But this time the coalition opposed to the prime minister claimed to have the necessary support to overthrow the president in the National Assembly, in which the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has 179 parliamentarians in the chamber of 342 deputies and the opposition had 162 members.

172 supporters were enough for Khan, but several of the allied parties of his government coalition had announced that they were joining the opposition, to which were added a dozen PTI deputies, who assured that they were going to the opposite ranks.

Khan’s five-year term was due to end in the summer of 2023, after his victory in the July 2018 elections, a premature end that is now customary in Pakistan, where no prime minister has ever completed his term.

Khan claimed in recent days that this no-confidence motion is part of a conspiracy led by a foreign government following its rapprochement with Moscow during the invasion of Ukraine.

In an earlier message to the nation this week, which was unusually live-streamed, Khan said the letter was received on March 7 from a foreign government, which he avoided naming, though in an apparent mistake he made reference to the United States. Joined. Washington has denied the allegations.

Parliament’s decision today not to allow the vote on the motion of censure under Article 5-A of the Constitution, which refers to the loyalty of every Pakistani citizen to the state, is based on these accusations.