Islamabad: The Pakistani parliament’s lower house will meet on Monday to vote for a new prime minister after it removed Imran Khan from the premiership in a no-confidence vote in the early hours of Sunday, the acting speaker has said.
Ayaz Sadiq, presiding over the assembly session in the absence of the ruling party members and its designated speakers, said nomination papers for candidates should be filed by 11 am local time (06:00 GMT) on Sunday.
Khan, 69, lost the vote of confidence after being deserted by coalition partners who blame him for a crumbling economy and failure to deliver on his campaign promises.
“As far as governance was concerned, the government had totally failed,” Senator Anwaar ul Haq Kakar of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), a coalition ally that withdrew support for Khan in late March, said.
“There was disgruntlement for the past two years,” he said.
The result of the no-confidence vote, which was the culmination of a 13-hour session that included repeated delays, was announced just before 1 am (20:00 GMT on Saturday) by Sadiq.
Parliamentary elections are not due until August 2023. However, the opposition has said it wants early elections, but only after it delivered a political defeat to Khan and passes legislation it says is required to ensure the next polls are free and fair.
Khan’s removal extends Pakistan’s unenviable record for political instability: no prime minister has completed their full term since independence from Britain in 1947, although Khan is the first to be removed through a no-confidence vote.
He surged to power in 2018 with the military’s support but recently lost his parliamentary majority when allies quit Khan’s coalition government. There were also signs he had lost the military’s support, analysts said.
Khan was overthrown after more than three years as leader of the nuclear-armed country of 220 million, where the military has ruled for nearly half of the country’s near 75-year history of independence.
Shehbaz Sherif is the frontrunner to become Pakistan’s next prime minister. (Photo)
No prime minister has completed a full five-year tenure in Pakistan’s 75-year history – a trend extended with the removal of Imran Khan, who lost a no-confidence vote on Sunday.
Pakistan, a parliamentary democracy for most of its history, has had a total of 29 prime ministers since 1947 – one of whom took on the role twice in one year.
On 18 occasions, prime ministers have been removed under a variety of circumstances, including corruption charges, direct military coups and forced resignations due to infighting in governing groups. There was one assassination.
The remaining prime ministers held the position for a limited time as caretakers to oversee new elections or to see out a dismissed prime minister’s tenure. The year 1993 was particularly fraught, with five changes in the prime ministership.
The shortest tenure for a prime minister is two weeks, while the longest is four years and two months. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was elected prime minister three times: 1990, 1997 and 2013 – the most for a single candidate.