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Pakistan: ‘Death to America’ Loud As Parliament Rejects Khan’s No-confidence Move

Pakistan: ‘Death to America’ Loud As Parliament Rejects Khan’s No-confidence Move
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By Staff, Agencies 

For the first time in the history of Pakistan's parliament, the country's parliamentarians chanted "Death to America" as the legislature rejected a no-confidence vote, which sought to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying "foreign powers" are interfering in the country's democratic process.

Qasim Khan Suri, National Assembly deputy speaker, dismissed the no-trust move against the prime minister on Sunday, terming it as "contradictory" to Article 5 of Pakistan's Constitution.

Suri said that the motion was presented on March 8 and should be according to the law and the Constitution, stressing, "No foreign power shall be allowed to topple an elected government through a conspiracy."

"The President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, has approved the advice of the Prime Minister," a statement from his office said, meaning fresh elections must be held within 90 days.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, head of the opposition Pakistan People's Party, promised a sit-in at the parliament.

"We are also moving to the Supreme Court today," he told reporters. 

Media reports said there was a heavy police and paramilitary presence on the streets of the capital Islamabad on Sunday, with shipping containers used to block off roads. Police were seen detaining three supporters of Khan's ruling PTI party outside parliament.

Khan on Saturday accused the United States of being behind a parliament debate on the no-confidence motion, saying the move is an attempt at regime change backed by Washington.

The Pakistani premier had earlier accused an unnamed "foreign power" - in a clear reference to the United States - of funding a "conspiracy" to topple his democratically-elected government.

If Khan had lost on Sunday, he would have been the first prime minister to be removed through a vote of no confidence.

The cricketer-turned-politician has been accused by the opposition of mishandling the economy and foreign policy since coming to power in 2018.

His embattled government has been banking on the International Monetary Fund to release a 6 billion-dollar rescue package, but the move has been obstructed by the US.

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