Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's scheduled address to the nation on Wednesday evening, 30 March, ahead of the no-trust vote on 3 April, has been cancelled, as per local media.
The announcement came after PM Khan met the Pakistani Army chief and the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The army and the ISI heads again met with Mr Khan later in the evening.
Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, speaking to the media before a meeting of the federal cabinet on Wednesday, had announced that PM Khan would address the nation on Wednesday evening.
With Ahmed asserting that the PM would "fight till the last ball," Khan was supposed to take senior journalists and members of the Pakistan National Assembly into confidence about a "foreign conspiracy" letter aimed at toppling the incumbent government, Dawn reported.
Stating that a no-confidence motion was a "democratic" move, Khan had said that "people lose confidence in their party."
However, he had pointed out, "This is a foreign imported conspiracy and it started when people from abroad started controlling Pakistan through telephone calls. They cannot tolerate a leadership that works in the people's interest."
Meanwhile, speculations were rife that PM Khan might resign soon as he was reluctant to face the no-trust motion tabled against him.
However, dismissing such rumours, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary said on Wednesday that PM Khan would not resign and reiterated that he would fight till the last ball.
Khan had lost the majority in the country's National Assembly on Wednesday, as his party's primary coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Pakistan (MQM-P) – abandoned the government and signed a deal with the Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
'Shahbaz Sharif Will Be the New Prime Minister': PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto
Meanwhile, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stated on Wednesday evening that PM Khan had lost the majority in the National Assembly and that Leader of Opposition (LoP) Shahbaz Sharif would soon become the Prime Minister.
Bhutto also thanked MQM-P for joining hands with the Opposition and deciding to support them to oust Khan.
Stating that once the matter was settled (once the voting is done), Bhutto said, "We can then start working on transparent elections and the journey towards restoration of democracy and an end to economic crisis can then begin."
The ruling coalition was down to 164 lawmakers in the National Assembly after the development, while the Opposition now has 177 members.
The Pakistani prime minister needs 172 votes in the 342-member House to defeat the motion against his government.
If Khan loses the motion, the tradition of a Pakistani PM never completing a full five-year term in office will continue.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed had announced on Tuesday that voting on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan would take place on 3 April.
The motion was tabled by the Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on 28 March.
Around 100 lawmakers from Pakistan's Opposition parties had submitted the no-confidence motion against the ruling government in the National Assembly Secretariat on 8 March.
The reasons behind the motion, they said, was that the government had been unable to control inflation and solve the dire economic problems in Pakistan.
Click here to understand why there is a no-confidence motion against the ruling government and how the rebellion will hurt PM Khan.
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