Pakistan PM to Seek Confidence Vote After Senate Loss

Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh lost a seat in the senate to Opposition-backed Yousuf Raza Gilani.

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World
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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will seek a vote of confidence in the National Assembly, or the Parliament’s Lower House, on Saturday, 6 March after his finance minister was defeated in an election for a seat in the senate.

“I am going to take a vote of confidence from the (National) Assembly. No matter if I sit in Opposition or am out of the Assembly, I will not spare anyone of you (Opposition leaders) until you return the money of this country,” Khan said during his national address on Thursday.

Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh lost a seat in the indirectly elected Upper House to former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday, who is also backed by Khan’s Opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

The ruling PTI had earlier said that it had the support of 182 members, and 172 votes were needed to win the seat at the senate. However, the Election Commission of Pakistan announced that Gilani received 169 votes, while Shaikh got 164 votes.

In his address to the nation, the PM said that money has been influencing senate elections for the past 3-4 decades, adding that this poses challenges to the country.

He further asked why the Election Commission conducted the election through a secret ballot, stating that the body’s responsibility is to conduct elections in a transparent and fair manner.

Ahead of his address to the nation, Khan had called on Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI director general Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.

Following Gilani’s win, many Opposition leaders criticised Khan and called for his resignation.

The PTI leaders, however, rejected these appeals, saying, “The Opposition leaders should be ashamed. With what face and character can they say that Imran Khan should resign or say to bring no confidence against him,” Information Minister Shibli Faraz said, The Indian Express reported.

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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