The no-confidence motion was filed after months of uncertainty in the country’s politics, which was announced by PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on February 11.
The country’s politics have seen a lot of turmoil in recent days, with meetings with government allies, meetings of opposition parties and political figures lobbying for their positions.
So what happens next? What is the procedure for voting in a no-confidence motion? Most importantly, is the PTI government going home?
Find out the full details of the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
For the no-confidence motion to succeed, the opposition will need a simple majority, with the support of 172 of the 342 members of the National Assembly.
The opposition claims that it has the required majority, while Maulana Fazlur Rehman says that they want to increase this number to 180.
According to the National Assembly website, PTI has 155 members in the National Assembly, 7 from MQM, 5 from Balochistan Awami Party, 5 from PML-Q, 3 from Grand Democratic Alliance and 3 from Awami Muslim. One member of the league is involved.
While 84 members of PML-N, 56 members of Pakistan Peoples Party, 15 members of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, 4 members of Balochistan National Party, one member of Awami National Party, one member of Jamhoori Watan Party and 4 other independent members are included.
In addition, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said with reference to the numbers game that out of 172 members, 162 will be from opposition parties and one will be from Jamaat-e-Islami.
He added that two members of the ruling party were “openly opposing” the government, leaving seven votes.
“We have a lot more numbers than that,” he said.
Senior journalist Mazhar Aas said that at present the opposition was apparently focusing on the weak members of Punjab and Balochistan in the National Assembly.
He said the no-confidence motion was the “last resort” of the opposition and would not use it unless it had full confidence.
“They know that the only option after that is to go to the polls,” he said.
No-confidence motion procedure
A motion to convene a sitting of the House with the signatures of 20% or 68 members of the National Assembly is submitted for a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister during which a vote of no-confidence is taken.
According to Article 54 of the Constitution, the Speaker has a maximum of 14 days to convene a sitting of the House after recusal.
After convening the meeting, the Secretary National Assembly will send the notice to the members and the no-confidence motion will be tabled the next day (on working day).
The day the resolution is tabled, according to the rules, it will not be voted on “before 3 days or after 7 days”.
The no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister is voted on by open vote.
According to Mazhar Abbas, when the National Assembly convenes, the first bell is rung so that if any member is out, he can reach the assembly hall and after that the doors are closed.
Its members who are in favor of the no-confidence motion go out through one door while its opponents go out through the other door.
When they are out, the counting begins and when the hall is completely empty and the voting is over, then everyone re-enters the hall.
The result is then announced by the speaker. If the no-confidence motion is successful, the Speaker will submit the result in writing to the President and a gazetted notification will be issued by the Secretary.
If a no-confidence motion is filed against the Speaker or Deputy Speaker, it is voted on by secret ballot.
According to the rules of the Assembly, neither the Speaker nor the Deputy Speaker can preside over the Assembly session during this referendum.
No action is taken in this session of the National Assembly other than the no-confidence motion.
If the motion against the Speaker or Deputy Speaker is successful, a gazetted notification is issued.
What happens next?
According to the constitution, if the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister wins by a majority in the National Assembly, then the Prime Minister can no longer hold office.
When the prime minister is removed through a no-confidence motion, his cabinet is dissolved.
Lawyer Abdul Moiz Jafari explained that the cabinet is part of the power of the Prime Minister. A cabinet consists of ministers, advisers, but a cabinet cannot survive without the Leader of the House. The Cabinet supports the Leader of the House.
He further said that the National Assembly could not function without the Leader of the House.
He said, “When there is an election, first of all you elect the Speaker so that there is a caretaker of the House and after the election of the Speaker, the Leader of the House is elected so that its direction can be determined. If the House does not survive, then you must elect someone else.
Abdul Moeez Jafari further said that if there is no Leader of the House then the President can dissolve the Assembly and call for general elections.
In contrast, when the Speaker of the National Assembly is removed, the Deputy Speaker temporarily assumes the office of Speaker until a new Speaker is elected.
Lawyer Salar Khan, on the other hand, had a slightly different view on the procedure and said that the situation after the removal of the Prime Minister was somewhat uncertain.
The law states that “after the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker after the general election or if the post of the Prime Minister becomes vacant for any reason, the Assembly must elect one of the Muslim members as the Prime Minister without any further action.”
According to Article 32 of the National Assembly Rules, the Assembly must elect a new Prime Minister without any further action, but Salar Khan said that according to Article 37, the session of the Assembly cannot be adjourned until the motion is rejected or Don’t vote.
“On the one hand, it is written that you have to elect a new prime minister immediately. You can adjourn the session but you cannot take any further action,” he said.
Twice a no-confidence motion was moved against the Prime Minister in the National Assembly of Pakistan.
The first such move was made against Benazir Bhutto in 1989 but the no-confidence motion failed with only 12 votes. Five members were absent from the house and Benazir Bhutto got 125 votes. The opposition needed 119 votes to win.
The no-confidence motion against former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz failed in August 2006. On that occasion, only 136 votes out of 342 were cast in the no-confidence motion, while 172 votes were required for the motion to succeed.
Twice a no-confidence motion was filed against former National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain, once in June 2003 and again in October 2004, both of which he managed to escape.
The no-confidence motion in June 2003 failed because the opposition boycotted the referendum after the debate.
Seventeen years ago, the then Speaker of the National Assembly, Syed Fakhr Imam, was removed by a no-confidence motion backed by then-President General Zia-ul-Haq.