Imran Khan faces losing Pakistan's largest province amid ongoing political crisis

Imran Khan faces losing Pakistan's largest province amid ongoing political crisis
Imran Khan could lose control of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, after a no confidence motion was filed against the provincial assembly's Deputy Speaker
3 min read
07 April, 2022
Pakistan's Imran Khan is struggling to maintain his majority in Punjab [Getty]

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Tehreek e-Insaaf (PTI) party could lose control of Pakistan's largest province as the country veers further into a political crisis.

Khan, who lost his majority in Pakistan’s parliament last week, is facing a rebellion in Punjab’s regional parliament that could make it more difficult to install his own chief minister in the province.

A critical session of Punjab’s assembly to elect a new Chief Minister of the province was postponed from 6 April to April 16 on Tuesday.

However, Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari – who belongs to Khan’s PTI – summoned the house on 6 April regardless, leading to PTI lawmakers in the province on Wednesday filing a motion of no-confidence against him.

PTI leader Mian Mehmood ur Rehman said in parliament that the Deputy Speaker had called Thursday’s session “without taking the party into confidence,” adding that Speaker Pervaiz Elahi had withdrawn the powers given to the Deputy Speaker, Geo News reported 

The opposition also tabled a no-confidence resolution of their own against Elahi – also of the PTI - alleging that he violated the rules of the house since he is in the running for the Chief Minister’s post. This second no-confidence bill was not accepted by the house. 

Mazari told Geo News  that Punjab’s parliament was “not co-operating” with him and added that the session he called should go ahead.  “I did not consult the Punjab government, PTI or the speaker. I summoned the Assembly session in light of the Supreme Court’s orders,” Mazari said.

Punjab is Pakistan’s largest and most populous province and is crucial to Imran Khan’s hopes of being re-elected prime minister of the country ahead of the controversial early elections he has called.

Khan was set to lose his parliamentary majority last week after the national opposition tabled a no-confidence motion against him.

The parliament however cancelled the no-confidence vote and Khan subsequently dismissed Pakistan’s parliament and called for new elections.

The country’s Supreme Court will resume hearing whether the parliamentary ruling to cancel the vote was constitutional on Thursday.

Further delay to the political process could create more instability in the country as Islamabad struggles to financially cope with the effects on fuel and food prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.