Khan is the second Prime Minister in the history of Pakistan who went to the National Assembly for a 'voluntary' vote of confidence, Geo TV said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday comfortably won a trust vote in the National Assembly amid opposition boycott, bolstering his government’s position after an embarrassing defeat in this week’s hotly-contested Senate elections.
Prime Minister Khan secured 178 votes in the 342-member lower house of Parliament during a special session convened on the directives of President Arif Alvi. He required 172 votes for a simple majority.
The floor test took place without the Opposition as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) an alliance of 11 parties boycotted the voting, making it easier for Khan to secure the required numbers.
Khan decided to take a vote of confidence in the National Assembly after his finance minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was defeated in the Senate election by former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday. The Opposition demanded the Prime Minister’s resignation after the debacle.
Addressing the House after securing the trust vote, the 68-year-old cricketer-turned politician thanked all lawmakers from his party and allies for supporting him in Parliament.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi earlier tabled a single-point resolution in the House.
“That this House reposes confidence in the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr Imran Khan, as required under clause (7) of Article 91 of the Constitution Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the resolution said.
Speaker Asad Qaiser announced the result, saying Prime Minister Khan had been elected to the post with 176 votes following the 2018 general elections. “Today, he has secured 178 votes,” he said.
The ruling coalition had 181 members but after the resignation of one of its lawmakers, Faisal Vowda, its strength was reduced to 180. The Opposition coalition has 160 members in the House. One seat was vacant.
According to the breakdown, 155 PTI lawmakers out of 156 voted in favour of the prime minister, Dawn newspaper reported.
Seven lawmakers 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 each from the Awami Muslim League and the Jamhoori Watan Party voted in favour of the resolution. Independent candidate Aslam Bhotani also voted in favour of Khan.
Earlier, unruly scenes were witnessed outside Parliament building when supporters of the ruling alliance tried to disrupt a press conference of Opposition leaders belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
PML-N leaders alleged that they had been manhandled by the ruling party members who were holding up banners and chanting slogans in favour of Khan. Security forces managed to separate the political workers of the two sides.
Talking to reporters outside the parliament building, former prime minister and opposition leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, “an illegal session is being called to cheat the Pakistani people.”
Addressing the House, Khan spoke in detail about the abyss of moral decay the country has fallen in and asked the people to help him in his struggle to pull the nation out of it.
“The people can fight against corruption and not just the law, he said, and urged the judiciary and anti-corruption watchdog to give stern punishment to law evaders and corrupt elements.
He vowed to continue his struggle for a just society and announced to do it alone even all party members left him. “I was the captain who fought till the last ball. So I will continue to fight till the last ball,” he said.
Khan criticised Opposition leaders, especially former president Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, for their alleged involvement in corruption and trying to destabilise his government.
He said all the current problems were due to the misrule and mismanagement of the previous two governments of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
“It was the darkest decade of Pakistan’s history,” he said, terming them as “thieves” who were blackmailing his government.
He once again slammed the Election Commission of Pakistan for failing to stop vote buying in the Senate election. “We knew that votes were being purchased and the ECP did nothing, he said.
Khan also announced plans to bring electoral reforms to ensure complete transparency in elections.
“We are doing things; we are fully engaged with overseas Pakistanis so they can cast votes, and secondly, we are bringing electronic machines We are bringing this system so that the one who loses, accepts defeat,” he said.
Khan said Pakistan would come out of the problems and become great. “Nobody can stop this country from making progress because it has huge potential, he said.
He confessed being under pressure due to inflation and rising prices but assured that the government was single mindedly working to reduce the prices. He said one of many upcoming steps would be to subsidise the poor people. Another step would be to launch a scheme so that no one goes to bed hungry.
Khan is the second Prime Minister in the history of Pakistan who went to the National Assembly for a ‘voluntary’ vote of confidence, Geo TV said.
Then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had sought a voluntary vote of confidence from the Parliament after his reinstatement was granted by the Supreme Court in 1993.