Is Pakistan’s PM Khan losing his political grip?

SADF Comment, No. 208, South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), Brussels, Belgium. DOI: 10.48251/SADF.ISSN.2406-5617.C208

7 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2021

See all articles by Siegfried O. Wolf

Siegfried O. Wolf

South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF)

Date Written: March 10, 2021


Islamabad’s political circles experienced a tumultuous week, even for Pakistani standards. On Saturday, March 6, 2021, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan asked lawmakers from the lower house of the country’s parliament for a vote of confidence. The PM secured 178 votes out of the 171 currently required to win the open ballot. Khan obviously felt that this move was necessary after a ‘surprise’ electoral defeat in the Senate polls three days earlier . Opposition parties – foremost the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) of former PM Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of former president Asif Ali Zardari – were able to achieve majority (53 seats vis-à-vis 47 for the ruling alliance) in the upper house. Put simply and somewhat downplaying the whole complexity of electoral regulations, Senate elections seek legislators in the provincial assemblies to elect senators to represent their provinces – the National Assembly/NA also elects a Senator to represent the capital, Islamabad. It goes without saying that such elections, especially for the capital’s Senate seat, are extraordinary contested. The ‘Senate debacle’ represents a major political setback for Khan, and this for to several reasons.

Keywords: Civil-Military Relations, Defection, Domestic Politics, Elections, FATF, Financial Action Task Force, Horse-Trading, Imran Khan, National Assembly, Pakistan, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Democratic Movement, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, PDM, PTI, Senate, Vote of Confidence

JEL Classification: N85, F55, F63, F64, F66, F68, H50, H56, H60, H70, F50, H10, H11, H70, N40, N45, I28, J18, J68

Suggested Citation

Wolf, Siegfried O., Is Pakistan’s PM Khan losing his political grip? (March 10, 2021). SADF Comment, No. 208, South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), Brussels, Belgium. DOI: 10.48251/SADF.ISSN.2406-5617.C208, Available at SSRN:

Siegfried O. Wolf (Contact Author)

South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) ( email )

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