‘The New PM’ of Pakistan: Shehbaz Sharif to Meet President; New Leader to be Elected on April 11

Political turmoil in Pakistan reached its peak on Saturday after Imran Khan on Saturday failed the no-confidence vote, minutes before midnight, making him the first Prime Minister to be voted out in the country’s history. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif, will be the next prime minister, according to reports. Sharif will be meeting with President Arif Alvi tomorrow and a new leader of the government will be officially elected on April 11.

The announcement came after National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri resigned from their post. Meanwhile, Cabinet Minister Fawad Hussain termed Khan’s ousting as a “Sad day for Pakistan….. return of looters a good man sent home.”

Cabinet Minister of Human Rights Shireen Mazari in a tweet said, “Sad day for democracy when US regime succeeds aided and abetted by a corrupt political mafia & their domestic string pullers plus a judicial coup which has destroyed parliamentary supremacy. So our deep seated subservience to US will continue. Shameful!”

Imran Khan’s ex-wife Reham Khan posted a picture of Shehbaz Sharif with a caption stating “The new PM.”

Before the no-confidence vote, Pakistan Prime Minister Khan said the “threat letter” proving US conspiracy in Pakistan’s internal matter will be presented to the Chief Justice. “I will not let the global conspiracy succeed and the threatening letter will be presented to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP). The threatening diplomatic cable will also be shared with all political heads including Senate chairman,” he was quoted as saying by ARY News.

Amid reports of Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa being “removed” from his post, Prime Minister told news channels, he is neither considering changing the COAS nor discussed it yet. Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has issued a high alert at airports across the country and banned government officials from leaveing the country without a NOC.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association has submitted a plea in the Supreme Court against the government for not following the apex court’s orders on holding the no-trust vote and Deputy Speaker’s move to dissolve the parliament in a bid to help PM Khan evade the confidence motion.

Pakistan Army’s 111 Infantry Brigade, also known as ‘coup brigade’ due to its fast response to military coup d’etats, has been put in charge of Prime Minister’s residence. Islamabad has been put on high alert and the Army has been deployed. The Parliament House has been sealed and a “Red Zone” has been declared by police ahead of the no-trust vote. Prison vans and extra security were also deployed in the area.

Khan held an emergency meeting of his Cabinet on Saturday night, even though his government is expected to lose a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly, according to local media reports. Khan chaired the emergency Cabinet meeting where it was decided that he should not resign, sources said. The meeting has taken many by surprise as Khan has little chance of surviving the no confidence motion against him.

Also, reportedly top courts have become active and the Islamabad High Court and Supreme Court were expected to become operational by midnight to take action if the orders to complete voting on a no-confidence motion against Khan were not implemented till the end of the day. Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has instructed the relevant officials of the top court to open the doors at 12am, sources said, as the National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser is yet to allow voting on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Khan.

Islamabad High Court’s doors are also being opened on the instructions of IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, sources said. Meanwhile, the joint Opposition has lodged an official complaint with the Speaker, urging him not to further delay the voting on no-confidence motion against the prime minister. They said all authorities concerned including him were guilty of gross contempt and liable to punishment in accordance with law.

The joint Opposition needed 172 members in the 342-member house to oust Prime Minister Khan. They had garnered the support of more than the needed strength with the help of some allies of the ruling coalition and rebels from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf: party. Khan, who has been saying that he will fight till the last ball, claimed that the Opposition’s no-confidence motion against him was the result of a foreign conspiracy because of his independent foreign policy and funds were being channelled from abroad to oust him from power. In an address to the nation on Friday, the 69-year-old prime minister reiterated his allegations that a senior US diplomat threatened regime change in Pakistan. The US has bluntly rejected the allegations.

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