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Khan voted out

Speaker resigns before vote, Sardar Ayaz leads proceedings; Shehbaz says following vote won't engage in 'politics of revenge'

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government has been ousted from power as Imran Khan lost the vote of no-confidence and is no more the prime minister of Pakistan.

Imran Khan has become the first leader in the country’s political history to be voted out through a vote of no-confidence. A total of 174 members of the National Assembly voted against the prime minister.

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Following the vote, in his speech to the house following the vote, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif paid tribute to the leaders of the joint opposition and thanked them for the sacrifices, adding that once again, a Pakistan based on constitution and law had come into existence.

He added that the new government would not engage in ‘politics of revenge’, adding that they wanted to heal the wounds of the nation.

Just before the vote was held, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser resigned from his position.

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The speaker stated that he had decided not to continue as the custodian of the house, and that he accepted the Supreme Court’s decision in letter and spirit. He expressed concern about the no-confidence motion which he stated was put forth under an international conspiracy against the government.

The custodianship of the session of the National Assembly was handed over to member of panel of chair of NA, PML-N leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, who started the voting process.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq read out the resolution that the house had no confidence in the prime ministership of Imran Khan.

Earlier, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser left for the parliament after meeting the prime minister. Moreover, prisoner vans arrived outside the parliament, as the day for voting on the no-confidence motion against the prime minister neared its end.

Earlier, media reported that Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial had reached the Supreme Court. The chief justice ordered that the Supreme Court be opened at 12:00am. The opening of the Supreme Court at midnight would have come after the day for a vote of no-confidence against the premier, as ordered by the court, would come to an end.

The media also reported that the Supreme Court Bar Association had approached the Supreme Court regarding the implementation of its order for ensuring the process of a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

While talking to the media, Supreme Court Bar Association President Ahsan Bhoon said that if Islamabad High Court received an application according to Article 187(2) of the constitution, it was bound to take action.

On the other hand, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that the government was aware of the rumours about a change in the military leadership, and added that these were baseless reports and the government refutes such reports.

Earlier, the leadership of the combined opposition wrote a letter to the National Assembly speaker that he would be liable to contempt of court proceedings if he did not conduct the vote of no confidence by 12 midnight. The letter was shared by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s official Twitter account.

Moreover, in the federal cabinet meeting, media reported that it was decided that the ‘foreign letter containing the threat from abroad’ would be shared with the National Assembly speaker, Senate chairman, and chief justice of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, the prime minister is to attend the National Assembly session being held for a vote of no-confidence against him.

Earlier, the session was adjourned for the fourth time as the opposition continued to raise their voice time and again for the vote to be held.

Speaker Asad Qaiser started the session after the recitation of the Holy Quran. The session was called after the Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday that declared the deputy speaker’s ruling of last week unconstitutional.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, while taking the floor, said that Thursday was a historic day in the history of the country and the Supreme court has made Pakistan’s future bright. He asked the speaker to conduct the proceeding according to the ruling of the supreme court. He also said that this is the chance where the speaker can have his name written in gold in the history of the country.

While responding to the Shahbaz’s query, Qaiser said that he will make sure that the proceeding will go by law and constitution. He also said that the issue of international conspiracy should also be discussed.

In response, Shehbaz said to Qaiser that he would be violating the court’s directives if he would go down that road. He also read out the court’s directives regarding the convening of the session.

“Under the court’s directives, you are bound to take up this agenda item and no other item. That is the intent of the order and you cannot deviate from it,” he said, calling on the speaker to hold voting on the motion forthwith.

“The SC’s orders will be followed in true letter and spirit,” Qaiser replied, giving the floor to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi while speaking in the house said that the opposition has the right to table a no-trust motion against the PM and they will fight against it in a political, democratic and constitutional way.

During Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s speech, the opposition started raising objections, after that, the speaker adjourned the session till 12:30pm.

After the session resumed, Qureshi continued his address to the nation. “Are those powers who have vowed to uphold the Constitution not seeing this market?” he asked, adding that the people of the nation were aware of how votes were bought and sold during the Senate elections held last year.

Qureshi said that “blatant attempts” for changing the regime were apparent to all. He said that man was temporary but facts could not be suppressed. “Pakistan is at crossroads in history. The nation has to decide whether we will live with our heads bowed or with our heads held high,” the foreign minister said.

Speaking regarding the premier visit to Russia, Qureshi said that US national security adviser (NSA) told his Pakistani counterpart to not go, ahead of the visit. He asked how could someone stop a sovereign state from a bilateral visit.

He added that “Pakistan is a country that believes in the United Nations charter and self-determination and we have never supported the use of force. We reiterated that in the UN General Assembly and when the American NSA gave us the message.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party co-chair Bilawal Bhutto Zardari termed Imran Khan as a “selected” prime minister who ran away from the House and accused the government of dividing people, judiciary and polity. He said that Imran Khan is scared of fair elections. He called on the speaker to “follow the Supreme Court order and conduct the no-trust vote today.”

The PPP chairman purported that FM Qureshi was behind the premier’s troubles, once more calling for a vote to be held on the no-trust motion. “If you don’t come to today’s agenda, then you should know that the opposition will not leave […] we will snatch our constitutional rights from you.”

He said that the government no longer had its majority in the assembly. “We can debate on the foreign conspiracy for 100 days but first conduct voting.” He went on to say that the government had told several lies in this whole saga.

In his speech, former president Asif Ali Zardari regretted the recent depreciation of the rupee and stressed that the state bank had increased interest rates.

“I just want to make a request to hold voting on the no-confidence motion. Don’t waste time,” he said once again calling on the speaker to hold the vote.

“I don’t want to go to the court against you tomorrow. We have to live in Pakistan. We have to maintain links with every political party. So hold the vote and end this. Let’s move forward so that Pakistan can prosper,” he told Qaiser.

This prompted the NA speaker to say that he will implement the court’s directive in “true spirit”.

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