What The FAQ: Why is Pakistan PM Imran Khan facing a no-confidence vote?

The proceedings of the no-confidence vote commence today and Imran Khan has an uphill battle to fight. Here's what's happening in our friendly neighbourhood    

In the field of cricket, Pakistan's former captain Imran Khan was never the one to accept defeat easily, even when the going got tough. Seems like the tough cricketer has carried the same attitude into the field of politics as well. Even though as Prime Minister, he is facing the toughest challenges in the form of a no-confidence vote, proceedings of which begin today, March 25, he has dug in his heels and declared that "I will not resign, come what may." 

But what has led to this situation for the Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)? We try and understand this in today's What The FAQ.

When was the no-confidence motion submitted and what is it?
On March 8, Tuesday, about 100 lawmakers from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) turned up before the National Assembly of Pakistan to submit a no-confidence motion. This is usually done when the majority in the Parliament doesn't support the leader, ruling party or their policies.

The Parliament has 342 members of which 155 are PTI members and 162 are opposition members. Khan needs the support of at least 172 members. 

Why is this happening now?
Several reasons, primary of which is that he has enjoyed the support of the Pakistani Army, but when a disagreement arose between them over the appointment of Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), things started going downhill. An analyst says that he has fallen out of favour with the army, which is known to have intervened in politics in multiple instances.

Then there are the corruption charges Khan's party faces, something that he had promised to rule out via reforms at the beginning of his term. He has also been accused of mismanaging the economy and foreign policy. Upon this, three major allies of the ruling party now want to join the opposition. 

What has Imran Khan's reaction been?
Khan moved the Pakistan Supreme Court against the opposition's motion. Khan has also gone on to submit two interpretations of Article 63-A, which leads to disqualification of a lawmaker “on grounds of defection”. He has also sought a court order against defectors and, at the same time, has appealed to them to join the ruling side again. He is also addressing public gatherings to amass the support of citizens, special reference to his "million man" rally in Islamabad on Sunday.

What's next? 
Though the Parliament will convene today to start the proceedings on the no-confidence motion, it might be several days before the actual votes are cast which will decide if Khan will be removed.    

What does this mean for Pakistan?
Not only is there a review on a portion of the $6 billion rescue package from the International Monetary Fund pending, but the economic crisis is also looming large and now, a constitutional and administrative pandemonium. It may be recalled that no Pakistani Prime Minister has completed a full five-year term in office. 

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