Pakistan PM Imran Khan to seek vote of confidence from parliament on March 6

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will seek a confidence vote in the National Assembly, or parliament’s lower house, on March 6, Saturday. In his address to the nation on Thursday, Khan said that money has been influencing the Senate elections for the past 30-40 years and added that it poses challenges to the country.

Stating that the Election Commission’s responsibility is to conduct fair and transparent elections, Khan questioned why the poll body conducted the election through a secret ballot.

Khan’s call for a vote of confidence comes a day after his finance minister was defeated in the hotly-contested Senate elections. Ahead of the national address, Khan had called on Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI director general Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.

Khan’s close aide and Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh lost to former premier Yusuf Raza Gilani in the Senate election on Wednesday. Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), had personally campaigned for his Cabinet colleague.

In the wake of Gilani’s win, several opposition leaders had heavily criticised Khan, calling for his resignation.

Imran Khan, in his address, also lashed out at the grand Opposition alliance for “making a mockery of democracy” and said that he will never let the corrupt off the hook.

Declaring that he will seek the confidence vote, Kahan said: “I will take a vote of confidence the day after tomorrow (Saturday). I will ask my members to show if they have confidence in me. If they say they have no confidence, I will sit on Opposition benches,” the cricketer-turned politician said.

“If I am out of the government, I will go to the people and bring them out to continue my struggle for the country. I will not let these traitors (who plundered the country) sit in peace. I call them traitors because they are looters, he added.

The ruling PTI had claimed that it enjoyed the support of 182 members while 172 votes were needed to elect the senator. The Election Commission of Pakistan announced that Gilani received 169 votes while Shaikh got 164 votes.

Gilani, a Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) veteran, was a consensus candidate of the Opposition alliance – Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

The ruling party leaders, however, rejected calls for the resignation of Khan. “The Opposition leaders should be ashamed. With what face and character can they say that Imran Khan should resign or say to bring no confidence against him,” Information Minister Shibli Faraz said.

With PTI inputs

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