Pakistani PM Imran Khan wins vote of confidence in Parliament – fight against corruption continues

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan makes a speech during a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (not seen) at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on January 04, 2019. (AA)

178 members show confidence in Khan, opposition boycotts session. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday won the vote of confidence in the lower house of the parliament.

Khan won 178 votes in the 341-seat National Assembly, well above the 172 votes he needed to survive.

Announcing the results, Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser said Khan has secured 178 votes, more than those garnered in the 2018 general election.

“178 votes recorded in favor of resolution and Imran Khan, prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, has obtained vote of confidence,” Qaiser said.

On Wednesday, Khan announced to seek a vote of confidence from the parliament after his party’s unexpected defeat on a key Senate, upper house, seat from the capital Islamabad.

Yousaf Raza Gilani, a joint candidate of the opposition alliance, won the seat in an embarrassing upset.

The ruling party candidate, Hafeez Shaikh, lost despite having majority in the National Assembly — which indicates the prime minister’s own aides voted for the opposition candidate.

Members of the National Assembly choose senators from Islamabad for a period of six years in a secret ballot.

The 11-party opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), boycotted the vote.

Later addressing the National Assembly, Prime Minister Khan thanked his party members and allies for the vote and accused the opposition of “buying” Senate seats.

“The opposition tried to blackmail me to get concession in their corruption cases but I will never come under any pressure,” Khan said. A number of leading opposition leaders are jailed or embroiled in lengthy corruption cases as part of Khan’s election promise of “bringing back looted money to the country.”

He urged the election commission to investigate the unlawful exchange of money in the recent Senate election.

“The last two-and-a-half years were the most difficult struggle in my life as they [former rulers] destroyed the major institutions in the country,” Khan said

Clashes near parliament

Ahead of the vote, a scuffle erupted outside the parliament between workers of the ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the opposition.

Footage on Geo News, a local broadcaster, showed some PTI workers throwing shoes at opposition leaders.