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Imran Khan Voted Out as Pakistan's PM in No-Trust Vote: What Happens Next?

The National Assembly is set to meet on Monday, 11 April, at 2 pm to vote and elect the new prime minister.

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Clean bowled? Played on? Caught behind?

Regardless of how he got out, Imran Khan is back in the pavilion after losing the no-confidence vote against him in Pakistan's National Assembly, held during the early hours of Sunday, 10 April.

While the opposition needed 172 votes in its favour, 174 members of the 342-seat Assembly favoured the no-confidence motion.

What happens next? What is the process that will be followed to elect the next prime minister? And what role could the Supreme Court of Pakistan led by Umar Ata Bandial and the military led by Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa play in all of this?

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Sharif & Qureshi File Nominations

Things are continuing to move at a rapid pace after the ousting of Prime Minister Khan.

Hours after the results of the no-trust vote were declared, Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Khan's party) filed their nomination papers.

The Secretariat of the National Assembly had announced that 2 pm was the deadline for submitting nomination papers for the post of prime minister.

The nominations began to come in just before the deadline.

Sharif, the joint opposition's candidate for the post, filed 13 forms, while Qureshi submitted four forms.

Kanwal Shauzab and Zain Qureshi of the PTI arrived at Parliament House to collect the nomination papers on behalf of the former foreign minister.

None of this changes the fact that the PTI does not have the numbers to win a majority in parliament. 174 MNAs (Members of National Assembly) voted to oust the prime minister who is also the PTI chairman and founder.

The two largest parties in the opposition are Pakistan Muslim League (N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

The latter's chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has clearly stated that the PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif will become the next prime minister.

These two parties also have the support of other parties like the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and the Muttahida Qaumi Movementl, among others.

Therefore, it is highely likely that Sharif becomes the next prime minister of Pakistan whenever voting for the same takes place in the parliament.

As for Imran Khan, he will return to familiar territory, back to the opposition where he was after the 2013 Pakistani elections.

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Electing the Next PM

The National Assembly is set to meet on Monday, 11 April, at 2 pm to vote and elect the new prime minister.

MNAs will vote for or against the two candidates who have filed their nomination as of now – Shehbaz Sharif and Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The candidate to get 172 or more votes becomes the next prime minister.

On the other hand, according to the rules, the National Assembly will continue to function until the completion of its five year tenure. That happens in August 2023.

The new prime minister, whoever that may be, will govern within its ambit until the end of its term.

Even if the new PM agrees to conduct early elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has stated that general elections are not possible in the country before October as "seven months are required to ensure a free, fair, and transparent polls."

What has dissolved prematurely however, is the cabinet. The new prime minister will have to pick a new cabinet to run the country.

There is still some confusion regarding the speaker and the deputy speaker of the National Assembly.

It was widely reported on the night of the no-trust vote that National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri have submitted their resignations, with the former claiming that he could not take part in a "foreign conspiracy" to oust the prime minister.

The National Assembly Secretariat, however, clarified on Sunday, that contrary to what was reported just before the no-trust vote, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri did not resign from his post, and will chair the National Assembly session on Monday.

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As Always, Watch Out for the SC and the Military

Other than the National Assembly, the two important institutions to keep an eye out for are the Supreme Court and the military. Their respective participation in the crisis has been extremely contrasting.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan, led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, has proven to be one of the most significant players influencing the constitutional crisis.

First, it overruled the decision of Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri to reject the opposition-moved no-confidence motion against the Khan government.

It then ordered the National Assembly to reconvene so that the no-confidence vote could take place.

The apex court also convened for a midnight sitting to ensure that the no-confidence motion against Khan is legally implemented.

In stark contrast, the military has watched this crisis unfold from the sidelines. It had made clear from the start that it was going to be "neutral" on this occasion.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Khan met Chief of Army Staff Javed Bajwa at his residence just before the no-trust vote. There were rumours that Bajwa was going to get fired by Khan moments before the latter lost the vote.

Khan dismissed these rumours, and the military, as it had promised all along, stayed far away from the dramatic events that took place in the National Assembly.

The army may not have played any role in this crisis, but there have been multiple times, as explained in this video, when it has overthrown a civilian government in Pakistan, which is why its lack of participation this time is a bit surprising.

After all, none of Pakistan's 22 prime ministers have ever completed a five-year term, and the military is the biggest reason behind that track record.

So, keep an eye out.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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