After losing the Islamabad seat in the senate elections, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that he would seek a vote of confidence from the National Assembly.
Despite the ruling coalition’s majority in the National Assembly, the victory of the opposition candidate in the Senate general seat turned the majority into a minority.
The Prime Minister then voluntarily decided to seek a vote of confidence, but the President convened a meeting of the National Assembly under Article 91 (7) of the Constitution.
Article 91 (7) of the Constitution states that the Prime Minister shall hold office for the pleasure of the President, but the President shall not exercise his powers under this provision unless he is satisfied that the Prime Minister has been appointed to the National Assembly.
According to parliamentary experts, this is the first time in Pakistan’s parliamentary history that the president of his own party has realized that the Leader of the House has lost his majority and has ordered the Prime Minister to take a vote of confidence.
Prior to this, Nawaz Sharif was the only Prime Minister who had received a vote of confidence from the House.
On April 18, 1993, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dissolved the assemblies. They were reinstated by the Supreme Court on the afternoon of May 26, 1993, and a session of the National Assembly was convened the next day. At the end of the meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif passed a vote of confidence through a resolution. At that time, 123 out of 210 members of the House had expressed confidence in Nawaz Sharif.
How the Prime Minister will get a vote of confidence?
Whenever the Prime Minister needs the confidence of the House, he should have the confidence of more than half of the total number of members of the National Assembly, ie at least 172 members. Otherwise, they will lose confidence in the assembly.
According to the rules, the procedure for electing the Prime Minister and the vote of confidence is almost the same. The only difference is that the role of the opposition in a vote of confidence is negligible.
After the commencement of the sitting as per Rule 36 and Schedule II of the National Assembly, the Speaker of the National Assembly rings bells in the House for five minutes to ensure the attendance of all the members. After this, all the doors of the House are closed so that no member can go out and no one can come in from outside.
After reading the motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister, the Speaker will ask the members to register the votes with the enumerators who wish to vote in their favour. In the enumerator list, the member’s name will be called in front of the number.
According to the rules, members will wait in the lobby of the hall after the vote is registered. After the votes of all the members have been registered, the Speaker will announce the completion of the voting. The Secretary Assembly will count the votes and hand over the result to the Speaker.
The Speaker will ring the bells again for two minutes so that the members present in the lobby can return to the National Assembly Hall and then the Speaker will announce the result of the National Assembly.
The Speaker of the National Assembly will also inform the President in writing about the passage or rejection of the motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
What happens if I fail to get a vote of confidence?
If less than 172 members of the National Assembly expressed their confidence in the Prime Minister during the vote of confidence. If the rest of the members are absent or go to the lobbies even though they are in the House and do not get their names registered with the enumerators, it will mean that the Prime Minister has lost the majority in the House.
The federal cabinet will be dissolved and the house will elect a new leader under the rules. The procedure is exactly the same as that adopted for the post-election Prime Minister.
What is the difference between a vote of confidence and a no-confidence motion?
According to parliamentary rules, the no-confidence motion is moved by the opposition. Voting takes place three days after the motion is introduced in the House and within seven days. The no-confidence motion must be signed by 20% of the total members of the House.
The no-confidence vote is also conducted through the election of the Prime Minister, ie through open voting and division.
In the history of Pakistan, no-confidence motions were brought against Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Shaukat Aziz but they could not succeed. Similarly, the no-confidence motion against the Chairman Senate and the Speaker of the National Assembly has also failed.