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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Vote of confidence: When will government summon National Assembly’s session?

The government will move a summary to the president to summon a new session of the lower house of Parliament for a vote of confidence for Prime Minister Imran Khan from the National Assembly.

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The government will move a summary to the president to summon a new session of the lower house of Parliament for a vote of confidence for Prime Minister Imran Khan from the National Assembly. The decision came in the backdrop of an upset in the Senate elections in which Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan Democratic Movement won the general seat from Federal Capital by securing 169 votes against 164 secured by Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh of PTI.

The Senate Elections were quite disturbing for the PTI. According to the returning officer, who announced the results after counting ended in the National Assembly, six of the total 340 ballots cast in the National Assembly were rejected. Gillani obtained 169 votes, whereas Shaikh got 164. One vote was not cast. The MPs were required to vote for 37 vacant seats of the Senate with 11 senators already elected unopposed from Punjab due to withdrawals from opposing candidates.

Polling was held for 12 seats each of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 11 of Sindh and two of the federal capital. MPAs from the three provincial assemblies cast their vote for the candidates fielded from Balochistan, KP and Sindh, while MNAs voted for the representatives from the federal capital.

“PTI has unanimously decided that Prime Minister Imran Khan will take a vote of confidence from the National Assembly,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said while addressing a press conference along with Federal Ministers Shafqat Mehmood, Asad Umar, Shireen Mazari, Fawad Chaudhry, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Hammad Azhar and others.

He described the victory of Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani as a “negation of democracy” as well as the endorsement of PM Imran Khan’s apprehensions of corrupt practices in the Senate elections.

Read more: PTI wins majority in Senate despite major setback in Islamabad,

The foreign minister said the way voting was done on the capital’s general seat, strengthened the PTI’s narrative about the use of money in the Senate elections. “We were apprehensive that the elections will be bought and the buyers of conscience will buy the votes using the name of democracy.”

The process

Clause 7 of Article 91 of the Constitution explains how the prime minister can seek the confidence of the National Assembly.

According to Article 91 (7), the prime minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, but the President shall not exercise his powers under this clause unless he is satisfied that the prime minister does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the National Assembly, in which case he shall summon the National Assembly and require the prime minister to obtain a vote of confidence from the Assembly.

However, the President will summon a new session of the National Assembly for the prime minister to seek a vote of confidence following the government’s summary is moved on the subject.

As per Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the House, 2007 of the National Assembly, following the convening of the session, a resolution for the vote of confidence will be moved as the order of the day. Then exercise will start through a division of vote immediately.

However, in case of a no-confidence move, a notice of resolution has to be given by not less than 20% members of the total membership of the House.

Read more: Faisal Vawda resigns from National Assembly

The resolution will not be voted upon until three days and not later than seven days.

The Speaker is likely to prorogue the ongoing session on Thursday (today) if the government is in hurry for a confidence move.