By: Chandrashekar Bhat
A MAIN ally of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s government has reached a pact with opposition parties seeking to oust him, a party official said on Wednesday (30).
The move signalled the prime minister may be running out of options as he tries to stay in power.
Former cricket star Khan, 69, is battling a series of defections from his ruling alliance and an increasingly united opposition trying to force him from office in a no-confidence vote.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Khan’s largest ally in the National Assembly, said it has reached an agreement with the main opposition bloc and would announce details later.
“An agreement between the united opposition and MQM has taken final shape,” MQM senator Faisal Subzwari said on Twitter, adding party officials of the two sides were reviewing the agreement.
Khan’s party does not have a simple majority in parliament by itself and needs the support of coalition allies.
Opposition parties accuse Khan of mismanaging the economy, foreign policy and resorting to heavy-handed measures against critics.
Khan on Tuesday (29) directed his party lawmakers to either abstain or not attend the National Assembly session on the day of voting on the no-confidence motion.
In a letter to his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party lawmakers, he said: “All the members of the (PTI) in the National Assembly shall abstain from voting/not attend the meeting of the National Assembly on the date when the said resolution is set out on the agenda,” Geo News reported.
Khan also warned the party lawmakers that “every or any” violation of the directions would be treated as an “express defection”.
No prime minister in Pakistan’s history has ever been ousted through a no-confidence motion, and Khan is the third premier to face the challenge.
Interior minister Sheikh Rashid has said that the voting on the no-confidence motion will be held on April 3.
“There will be a debate on the no-confidence motion on March 31, followed by voting on April 3,” he said, adding that Khan would emerge victorious.