Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan got another shock on late Tuesday (March 29) night when when his government's ally Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) joined the opposition. With this development, Imran’s Pakistan Tehreek e-Insaf (PTI) with 164 members now has lost the majority in the lower house. The voting on the no-confidence motion is set to take place on April 3, 2022 in the assembly.
MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari confirmed the development on Twitter. He wrote, ”The agreement between Joined Opposition and MQM-P has been finalised."
متحدہ اپوزیشن اور متحدہ قومی موومنٹ پاکستان کے درمیان معاہدہ نے حتمی شکل اختیار کر لی ہے پیپلز پارٹی کی سی ای سی، ایم کیو ایم پاکستان کی رابطہ کمیٹی مجوزہ معاہدے کی توثیق کے بعد اس کی تفصیلات سے کل شام۴ بجے باضابطہ میڈیا کو آگاہ کیا جائے گا۔ @MQMPKOfficial @PPP_Org @pmln_org— Faisal Subzwari (@faisalsubzwari) March 29, 2022
The MQM-P signed an agreement prepared by Administrator Karachi Murtaza Wahab, with the opposition, reported Pakistani news agency Geo News. The agreement was also signed by opposition leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, acting President of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari.
WHY IMRAN KHAN’S FATE IS IN DOLDRUMS
1. STRONG OPPOSITION IN THE ASSEMBLY
The opposition, with 177 MNAs in the National Assembly, is strong to win the no-confidence resolution against Khan’s 164 MNAs. The joined opposition might also win over the motion even in the absence of disgruntled PTI MNAs.
Imran Khan. Photo: Getty Images
2. NO BACKING FROM THE ARMY
Imran Khan got it all wrong when he went ahead of Pakistan’s all-powerful army. In his pursuit of political independence, Khan had maintained a fair distance with Pakistan Chief of General Staff, Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Moreover, Khan landing in Moscow just on the day Russia invaded Ukraine also deepened his anxiety with the army, as the army saw it as a gross intereference in the foreign policy of Pakistan.
Lest we forget, it was the support from the army that had catapulted Imran to power in 2018. But four years later, the army seems to have withdrawn its support from Khan. The army has clearly kept itself out of the no-confidence resolution.
3. FRAUGHT RELATIONS WITH THE WEST
Khan also spoiled his relations with Washington when he spoke on the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Khan had said, “Afghanistan has broken shackles of slavery” when America withdrew its forces from Afghanistan. The comment not only underlined his sympathy for the Taliban, but also sent out a wrong message to America.
IMRAN KHAN ISSUES ADVISORY TO HIS MNAS
Photo: Getty Images
Imran Khan on Tuesday had sent a letter to his MNAs to abstain from voting on the no-confidence motion on April 3, 2022. In the letter Imran wrote, “No member of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf shall attend or make himself/herself available at the time and day of voting on the resolution of no-confidence.”
Khan cited the clause under Article 63-A of the constitution, which implies that a parliamentarian can be disqualified on the grounds of defection if he votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction issued by the parliamentary party to which he belongs.
Imran Khan's fate, as of now, hangs in a delicate balance. The former cricketer will need all his luck, and the support of his MNAs, to ensure he is not bowled out this time around.