Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday halted a planned “no-confidence” vote against him by Pakistan’s National Assembly, the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported, noting the action took place shortly before Khan additionally moved to dissolve Pakistan’s parliament.
“[Pakistan] National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri on Sunday [April 3] dismissed the no-trust move against Prime Minister Imran Khan, terming it against Article 5 of the [Pakistan] Constitution,” the newspaper reported.
Article 5 of the Pakistan Constitution states the following, according to the Pakistani news channel Geo TV:
(1) Loyalty to the State is the basic duty of every citizen.
(2) Obedience to the Constitution and law is the [inviolable] obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan.
Moments after Suri dismissed the “no-confidence” resolution against Khan on Sunday, Khan announced he had advised Pakistan President Arif Alvi to dissolve Pakistan’s National Assembly under Article 58 of the Pakistan Constitution. The prime minister then asked Pakistan’s public to prepare for fresh national elections in a televised address.
Pakistan’s opposition leaders Shehbaz Sharif (R) and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (L) speak during a press conference in Islamabad on April 4, 2022. Pakistan’s Supreme Court was hearing arguments on April 4 around Prime Minister Imran Khan’s shock decision to call an early election, sidestepping a no-confidence vote that would have seen him booted from office. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)
Article 58 of the Pakistan Constitution states, in part, “[T]he President may also dissolve the National Assembly in his discretion where, in his opinion, … a situation has arisen in which the Government of the Federation cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and an appeal to the electorate is necessary.”
Pakistan opposition parties filed a “no-confidence” motion against Prime Minister Khan on March 8. Khan has accused foreign forces, namely members of the U.S. State Department, of instigating the “no-confidence” motion as part of a greater effort to enact regime change in Pakistan.
Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told ministers of Pakistan’s parliament on April 3 that Islamabad had learned of “an operation for a regime change by a foreign government.” This revelation paved the way for Suri, a close ally of Khan, to declare the “no-confidence” motion unconstitutional.
Some observers of Pakistan’s planned “no-confidence” motion against Khan believed the prime minister would be successfully ousted by the vote. After Khan’s administration scrapped the vote on Sunday, Pakistani opposition parties on Monday held out hope that Pakistan’s Supreme Court might overrule the decision in the coming days.
“All eyes will now be on the position of Pakistan’s powerful military. They are widely seen as having helped Imran Khan into power in 2018,” the BBC noted on April 4.
“Now an alleged rift between the two sides prompted the opposition to launch this attack on him,” according to the British broadcaster’s analysis.
The BBC pointed to Khan’s refusal to “sign off on the appointment of a new chief of Pakistan’s powerful ISI intelligence agency” in October 2021 as the source of Khan’s current power struggle with the Pakistani military.