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Pakistan’s president approves dissolution of National Assembly: Report

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi on Sunday approved the dissolution of the country’s National Assembly, several local media outlets reported.

State Minister for Information Farrukh Habib said on Twitter that according to the country’s constitution, new elections will be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the assembly.

Earlier, in an unexpected move, Prime Minister Imran Khan said he has sent advice to the president to dissolve the country’s parliament, and call fresh elections.

The move came minutes after the deputy speaker of the parliament "rejected" a no-trust motion against the prime minister, terming it "unconstitutional".

The combined opposition, led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), had submitted the no-confidence motion against Khan on March 8, contending that the prime minister has lost the trust of the majority of lawmakers.

"I congratulate the whole nation for this victory. The deputy speaker has rejected the opposition's no-trust motion against the government, which was at the behest of the foreign power," Khan said in a brief address to the nation.

"I have sent advice to the president to dissolve the assemblies and call for fresh elections," he said.

"Let the people decide who do they want in power. It's not the authority of the foreign power to decide that," he added.

It's, however, still unclear whether only the lower house of the parliament – the National Assembly – will be dissolved or the four provincial assemblies would meet the same fate.

Earlier, Qasim Suri, the deputy speaker, ruled that the opposition's motion is "in contravention of the constitution" as a "foreign power" is behind this move. Therefore, he further ruled, the voting on the no-trust motion scheduled for Sunday, cannot be held.

The development came minutes after the high voltage session of the National Assembly began in capital Islamabad, which earlier was scheduled to hold voting on the motion Sunday.

As soon as the session began, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, who also holds additional portfolio of law minister, rose to his seat and sought deputy speaker's ruling over "constitutional authenticity" of the opposition's no-trust motion.

Accepting Chaudhry's contention, Suri "rejected" the motion terming it against rules and regulations of the Assembly, and the constitution.

Terming the prime minister’s move "unconstitutional," Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif said both Khan and the deputy speaker would be tried for "high treason."

The two, according to him, have acted against the constitution.

He said the opposition is approaching the Supreme Court against Khan's "unconstitutional" act.

In a related development, voting for election of the new chief minister of Punjab could not be held amid a pandemonium.

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