President Dr Arif Alvi on Sunday dissolved the National Assembly on Prime Minister Imran Khan's advice under Article 58 of the Constitution.
"The president of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, has approved the advice of the prime minister of Pakistan to dissolve the National Assembly under the Article 58 (1) read with Article 48(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan," according to a statement issued by the President's Secretariat.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Imran, in an address to the nation, said he had advised the president to "dissolve assemblies".
According to Article 58, "The president shall dissolve the National Assembly if so advised by the prime minister; and the National Assembly shall, unless sooner dissolved, stand dissolved at the expiration of forty-eight hours after the prime minister has so advised."
The premier's announcement came moments after National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, who was chairing today's session, dismissed the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, terming it a contradiction of Article 5 of the Constitution, which says loyalty to the state is the basic duty of every citizen.
The government claims that the no-trust motion against the premier was a "foreign funded conspiracy", citing a 'threat letter' that was received from a foreign country through Pakistan's ambassador, asking for the removal of PM Imran.
In his address today, Prime Minister Imran congratulated the nation for the no-trust motion being dismissed, saying the deputy speaker had "rejected the attempt of changing the regime [and] the foreign conspiracy".
The premier said he had been receiving messages from many people who were worried, adding that "treason" was being committed in front of the nation. "I want to say, 'ghabrana nahi hai' (do not worry). God is watching over Pakistan."
He said he had written to the president with advice to dissolve the assemblies, adding that the democrats should go to the public and elections should be held so the people could decide who they wanted in power.
Prime Minister Imran said the "billions of rupees" that had been spent to "buy" lawmakers' votes would be wasted and advised those who had taken money to donate it to orphanages and the poor.
"Prepare for elections. No corrupt forces will decide what the future of the country will be. When the assemblies will be dissolved, the procedure for the next elections and the caretaker government will begin," he added.
Shortly afterwards, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the prime minister's advice to dissolve the National Assembly had been sent to President Dr Arif Alvi under Article 58 of the Constitution.
In a separate tweet, he said the cabinet had been dissolved while PM Imran would continue in office under Article 224 of the Constitution, which is related to elections and by-elections.
According to the article, after the dissolution of the NA, the president, in consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, would appoint a caretaker prime minister.
It further states: "When the National Assembly or a provincial assembly is dissolved, a general election to the assembly shall be held within a period of ninety days after the dissolution, and the results of the election shall be declared not later than fourteen days after the conclusion of the polls."
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said new elections would be held in 90 days.
Earlier today, Information Minister Chaudhry, who took the floor shortly after the NA session began, said that loyalty to the state was the basic duty of every citizen under Article 5(1). He reiterated the premier's earlier claims that a foreign conspiracy was behind the move to oust the government.
"On March 7, our official ambassador was invited to a meeting attended by the representatives of other countries. The meeting was told that a motion against PM Imran was being presented," he said, noting that this occurred a day before the opposition formally filed the no-trust move.
"We were told that relations with Pakistan were dependent on the success of the no-confidence motion. We were told that if the motion fails, then Pakistan's path would be very difficult. This is an operation for a regime change by a foreign government," he alleged.
The minister questioned how this could be allowed and called on the deputy speaker to decide the constitutionality of the no-trust move.
Suri, who chaired the session after opposition parties, in a surprise move, filed a no-confidence motion against Speaker Asad Qaiser, noted that the motion was presented on March 8 and should be according to the law and the Constitution. "No foreign power shall be allowed to topple an elected government through a conspiracy," he said, adding that the points raised by the minister were "valid".
He dismissed the motion, ruling that it was "contradictory" to the law, the Constitution and the rules. The session was later prorogued.