In Parliament, Qureshi announces boycott of voting to elect new Pakistan premier

PTI, Apr 11, 2022, 4:47 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s prime minister candidate Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday announced that his party will boycott the voting to elect new premier in Parliament minutes after the National Assembly’s crucial session began to elect Imran Khan’s successor.

Taking the floor, former foreign minister Qureshi said that the nation has two paths – one path is of self-respect while the other one is of slavery.

He appreciated ousted premier Khan for trusting him by nominating him and said the constitutional process has to end today as some will be declared a winner, while the other one will be declared “free”.

At the end of his speech, Qureshi said his party will boycott the voting to elect the new premier and the PTI lawmakers staged a walkout.

Opposition candidate and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif and Qureshi were in the race to become the new premier.

Shehbaz, 70, who is now the only candidate left in the race is likely to be the next prime minister.

Minutes before the start of the session, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry had said all PTI lawmakers will resign from the National Assembly and not become part of any government which was being formed under a ”foreign agenda” – a reference to an allegation by Khan that the US was involved in a conspiracy to topple his government.

He said that the decision was taken in a meeting of the lawmakers of the party ahead of prime minister’s elections for which the party has nominated Qureshi as its candidate.

In the House of 342, the winning candidate should get support of at least 172 lawmakers. The combined opposition that is supporting Shehbaz has shown the requisite numbers in the no-trust vote.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet division on Sunday de-notified 52 members of the federal Cabinet after the historic vote of no-confidence by the joint Opposition.

The nomination papers of Shehbaz were accepted by the National Assembly Secretariat after objections raised by the PTI were rejected.

Qureshi’s nomination papers were also accepted.

According to the National Assembly agenda issued by the house’s secretariat for Monday, the prime minister’s election is the only item on the agenda. Senior PTI leader Babar Awan had challenged Shehbaz’s candidature, saying that the PML-N chief faced several court cases.

In 2019, the National Accountability Bureau arrested Shehbaz and his son, Hamza Sharif, accusing them of money laundering.

The process of electing the new leader of the house began on Sunday after Khan was removed from office through a no-confidence vote, becoming the first premier in the country’s history to be sent home after losing the trust of the House.

Pakistan has struggled with political instability since its formation in 1947 with multiple regime changes and military coups. No prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term.

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