Imran Khan has survived a move to oust him as Pakistan’s prime minister, getting a reprieve when the deputy speaker of Parliament blocked a no-confidence motion as unconstitutional.
Khan, whose fate was not immediately clear, later advised the country’s president to dissolve Parliament, leading to fresh political instability in the nuclear-armed country of 220 million people.
The National Assembly deputy speaker, of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, dismissed the move against Khan on Sunday, saying it went against Article 5 of the Constitution.
Later on Sunday, a statement from the presidency confirmed that the National Assembly had been dissolved which means elections will be held within 90 days.
“The President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, has approved the advice of the Prime Minister,” a statement from his office said.
Imran Khan asks the president to dissolve assemblies and asks for elections. Calls it an international conspiracy to unseat an elected prime minister pic.twitter.com/HxbqyF2bxX
— Osama Bin Javaid (@osamabinjavaid) April 3, 2022
“We have decided to hold sit-in in the National Assembly unless voting on no-confidence motion takes place,” Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), told reporters.
“We are contacting the Supreme Court over this violation.”
Pakistan’s embattled PM was set to face the no-confidence vote on Sunday after the opposition said it had the numbers to win.
The opposition needs a simple majority of 172 votes in Pakistan’s 342-seat Parliament to unseat Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician.
Key partners in his small but key coalition, along with 17 of his own party members, have joined the opposition to remove him.
On Sunday, giant metal containers blocked roads and entrances to the capital’s diplomatic enclave, Parliament and other sensitive government installations in the capital.