(File Photo) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Photograph:( AFP )
Does Imran Khan have one last trick up his sleeve to hold on to prime ministerial office? Things look difficult but in politics, anything is possible
Sunday is usually a day to relax for most people but a time-off would not even be the last thing on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's mind. The cricketer-turned-politician is on a slippery wicket as he faces a no-confidence vote against him in the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan parliament. Imran Khan, the master of reverse swing was often called 'unplayable' by batsmen who faced him during his peak years. But does he have one last trick up his sleeve to hold on to prime ministerial office? Things look difficult but in politics, anything is possible.
How do the numbers stack up?
Pakistan's National Assembly has 342 members. Imran Khan needs support from at least 172 members to save the coalition government led by his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. If the ruling coalition had closed ranks well, Imran probably wouldn't have had any reason to worry. But perhaps biggest jolt to his plans of staying in power was given by Muttahida Qaumi Movement- Pakistan (MQM-P) an allied party that chose to jump the ship.
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It declared a few days ago that it would vote against the government.
This has left 164 lawmakers with Imran. But with dissident voices coming from within his own party, Imran Khan's position looks shaky right now.
Will the vote take place on Sunday (April 3) for sure?
As per Pakistan's constitution, vote on a no-confidence motion should take place within 7 days after the motion is tabled in the National Assembly.
This means that last permissible day to carry out the vote would be Monday (April 4).
However, Pakistan's Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid has already declared that vote on the motion would take place on Sunday (April 3).
What's Imran's gameplan?
Imran has given strict instructions to his party members NOT to attend the voting session of the National Assembly. Even if they do, he has asked them to abstain.
The plan appears to be to make it tough for the opposition to gain support of 172 members rather than to try to sweat himself to gain support himself.
In the run-up to the voting day, Imran Khan has made plenty of allegations, including one of a 'foreign conspiracy' to oust him. As days went by he openly accused the US of trying to interfere in Pakistan's internal matters. He also claimed that he has documentary evidence of this. On Friday, the Pakistan government even lodged a formal protest with the US embassy over this.
White House has denied trying to create any interference.
There was quite an intrigue worldover when Imran Khan, a sportsman, assumed the prime ministerial office in Pakistan. In preceding years, he was often seen as someone who successfully organised marches, rallies and cornered governments. Things have come full circle it appears.
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