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Imran Khan wants PM Shehbaz to take trust vote

PTI chief's comments come at time when the PDM coalition faces resentment from ally — MQM-P

By Web Desk
January 14, 2023
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. — Screengrab via YouTube/Hum News Live
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. — Screengrab via YouTube/Hum News Live

In a retributive attempt to bring down the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government in the centre, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Saturday insisted that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will have to take a vote of confidence.

Khan's comments came at a time when the PDM faces resentment from its coalition allies Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

The party has threatened to leave the federal government following their "unaddressed" reservations in the local body polls being held in Karachi and Hyderabad on January 15 (Sunday). MQM-P's votes will be crucial to help the incumbent prime minister continue his term in office.

However, in a bid to keep them in the alliance, PM Shehbaz, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had assured redressal of MQM-P's grievances.

Against the backdrop of the recent political developments in the country, Khan — while speaking in an interview with a private news channel — said: “PTI has passed the test. Now, Shehbaz Sharif will be fully tested.”

Punjab's political fiasco

Referring to the recent vote of confidence taken by Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi, Khan said: “Our numbers had been completed. Moonis Elahi worked hard at the last moment to achieve the required numbers of the PML-Q.”

The cricketer-turned-politician, while denying allegations of horse trading, said that the PDM was still stuck to the "politics of Changa Manga".

“The country has changed and they don't realise it,” the PTI chairman said, adding that for the first time in the country’s history, Punjab stood against the establishment during the by-elections in July 2022. "The by-polls changed the country’s politics."

The ousted prime minister, whose government was sent home following a vote of no confidence, spoke about Moonis' significant role in the Punjab Assembly fiasco earlier this week.

“Moonis Elahi played a crucial role in completing the number. Our members were complete and the PML-Q’s members were short in numbers towards the end,” Khan said, maintaining that his party didn’t attempt horse-trading.

The former premier said that he realised the opposition being shocked at CM Elahi’s success at getting the required number of votes after seeing their photos while seated in the assembly.

"They thought the establishment was behind them and they will win," the PTI chief said, taking a jibe at the opposition.

Lauding CM Elahi’s support for his decisions in Punjab’s political matters, Khan said: “The way Elahi is standing with us, there was immense appreciation in the party. He was the chief minister and made real sacrifice. We are recommending he merges the party.”

He insisted that a merger with the PTI will be in PML-Q’s interest. “Now only PTI’s ticket will work in the election. Whoever leaves the party at this time, will end their politics,” he said.

Shedding light on the challenges he faced during his tenure as the prime minister, Khan said that the three and a half years were "tormenting" for him.

Khan censures federal government

The PTI chairman criticised the federal government for its spending on visits abroad. “They are going to ask for money [for the floods] and are staying at the most expensive hotels. They don’t care about Pakistan’s money being spent,” he said, adding that the country needs a strong government to take decisions.

Reiterating his fears of political engineering, the PTI chief said: “I am currently seeing political engineering in the country. They are gathering MQM-P and sending Balochistan Awami Party to the PPP.”

Khan revealed that there are plans to give seats to PPP in South Punjab and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while in Punjab people are being asked to join the PML-N.

“They have not learnt anything from the past. Political engineering has ruined the country,” he lamented.