Pakistani PM's electoral challenges reveal dire state of affairs

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
Islamabad   Published: Mar 08, 2021, 10.59 PM(IST)

File photo: Pakistan PM Imran Khan. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

As for the vote of confidence on Saturday, Khan arrived in Pakistan's National Assembly to test his clout to dispel suggestions that he had lost the support of the majority of his lawmakers. So, he took a trust vote and secured 178 votes, six more than what he needed

After losing the Islamabad seat in the Senate polls, the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan took a vote of confidence in the parliament. He won the vote but remains on a sticky wicket as he is bracing for yet another electoral challenge on March 12 when Pakistan's Senate will vote to elect the chairperson. 

The Opposition has united behind one nominee, Yousaf Raza Gilani and since it enjoys the majority in the Senate, it may very well elect him to the post. As for the vote of confidence on Saturday, Khan arrived in Pakistan's national assembly to test his clout to dispel suggestions that he had lost the support of the majority of his lawmakers. So, he took a trust vote and secured 178 votes, six more than what he needed. 

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, while announcing the results, said, "Now, I announce the result, 178 members recorded their vote in the favour of resolution, and resolution is passed. Consequently, Imran Khan has obtained the vote of confidence from the national assembly and the command the confidence of the majority of the members of the national assembly as prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan." 

So, Khan has won but the fact that he's trying to sell it off as a hard-fought victory is a bit absurd. The result of this vote was a foregone conclusion. Out of the 340 lawmakers in Pakistan's National Assembly, 157 are from his own party PTI, 20 others are from allied parties and there are two independents that support the PTI. Khan had to win the trust vote. This was just a political stunt to divert attention away from the PTI's defeat in Islamabad and to show the control Imran Khan still maintains in the parliament. 

Outside the parliament, his goons took care of the rest. Three short videos tell the tale about the dire state of affairs in Pakistani politics. 

The first one shows Imran Khan's supporters heckling Opposition leaders. Some of them brought shoes to provoke them and some of them even got into a scuffle with Opposition leaders. In the second video, a shoe is getting tossed at PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal and the third video shows one PTI supporter involved in a physical altercation with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the man in the black waistcoat. He happens to be the former prime minister of Pakistan. 

Now, former prime ministers are getting attacked in broad daylight. Forget a vote of confidence, Pakistan needs a vote of conscience and perhaps China feels it can fill that gap. 

Chinese representatives in Pakistan are telling people what to do and this is a completely different story.  

Zhang Heqing, Beijing's cultural counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Islamabad, recently tweeted a video of a Chinese girl doing what he called the 'Xinjiang dance'. The caption read, 'Off your hijab, let me see your eyes'. An awful statement to make irrespective of how one views the hijab, it did not go down well with the people of Pakistan. There were a thousand tweets condemning his post. Zhang Heqing had to delete it but it does not change a thing. 

Thousands of Uighur women are being subjected to such derogatory treatment on a daily basis as the prime minister of Pakistan feigns total ignorance about the issue. His silence may be keeping China happy but it's not helping Pakistan's economy. Pakistan's debt-GDP ratio has reached 87%, that is 10 per cent more than the ideal ratio. In 2013, this ratio was 63.8% and in 2019, it grew to 86% and now it stands at 87. 

Islamabad is borrowing more than it can afford. It is sinking deeper into debt, with no prospects of a decent GDP growth in the coming years. So, Imran Khan may hold as many trust votes as he wants and target as many former prime ministers as he wants and remain silent on the persecution of Muslims elsewhere as he much he likes, it may help him fool the people of Pakistan but he cannot fool the rest of the world. 

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