Opposition tables no-confidence motion against NA speaker

Apr 3, 2022: Just hours before the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan was voted on in the lower house of parliament on Sunday, the joint opposition filed a no-confidence motion against National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.

Murtaza Javed Abbasi, MNA of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), submitted the resolution to the National Assembly Secretariat and demanded removal of the Speaker. The notice of the PML-N leader said that the Speaker would be removed from office under Rule 12 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, 2007 under Article 53 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Murtaza furthered that as required by sub-rules (1) and (2) of Rule 12, the notice must be circulated to all members of the National Assembly, and be tabled within seven working days.

Ahead of the session, the opposition parties held a parliamentary meeting attended by at least 174 members, excluding the PTI dissidents, from the opposition benches. 84 belonged to the PML-N, 56 belonged to the PPP, and 14 belonged to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).

Similarly, Awami National Party (ANP) has one lawmaker, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) has four, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P) has six lawmakers, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) has four, and the Jamhori Watan Party (JWP) has one lawmaker present in the house. At least four independent MNAs are also sitting on the opposition benches.

Out of the total 342 members of the assembly, a prime minister is elected if he/she secures 172 or more votes. The premier would continue if the opposition fails to produce 172 or more lawmakers in the assembly for any reason.

If PM Khan loses the vote, parliament would continue to function and the lawmakers in the National Assembly will elect a new prime minister to serve until August 2023, after which a general election is due within 60 days. However, the new premier can go for early elections before August 2023.

According to the Second Schedule of the NA rules, before voting commences, it states, that the speaker shall direct that the bells be rung for five minutes to enable members not present in the chamber to be present.

Immediately after the bells stop ringing, all the entrances to the Lobby shall be locked and the Assembly staff posted at each entrance shall not allow any entry or exit through those entrances until the voting has concluded.

The speaker shall then read out the resolution before the assembly and ask the members who wish to vote in favour of the resolution to pass in single file through the entrance where tellers shall be posted to record the votes. On reaching the desk of the tellers, each member shall, in turn, call out the division number allotted to him under the rules.

The tellers shall then mark off his number on the division list simultaneously calling out the name of the member. In order to ensure that his vote has been properly recorded, the member shall not move off until he has clearly heard the teller call out his name. After a member has recorded his vote, he shall not return to the Chamber.

After all the members who wished to vote have recorded their votes, the Speaker shall announce that the voting has concluded. Thereupon the Secretary shall cause the division list to be collected, count the recorded votes and present the result of the count to the Speaker.

The Speaker shall then direct that the bells be rung for two minutes to enable the members to return to the Chamber. After the bells stop ringing, the Speaker shall announce the result to the Assembly.

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