backtracking from his statement. “The conscience of members of this House is firmer than Himalaya and no temptation can buy it. Even Himalaya can budge, but not members of this assembly,” he said in an effort to calm down the agitated lawmakers.
The JI chief came up with an explanation. “I said those who are thinking of buying MPAs are greatly mistaken. Your honour is my honour. You are poor but not saleable,” he said.The JI chief is running for the Senate seat but his JI lacks the required number of votes for electing a senator. JI has only eight members while it needs 17 to elect its chief as Senator. It is heavily relying on its senior coalition partner, the PTI, which has 58 members in the House. With fears that PTI lawmakers could slip away, the JI is seriously worried about its chief’s election. His defeat could embarrass the party.
Speaker Asad Qaiser also stepped in to assure that the lawmakers would not sell their votes. “We all promise that we will prove from our character that we are clean and honest,” he said in a resolute voice.
As doubts about the loyalty of the PTI lawmakers increased, the ‘like-minded’ group in Imran Khan’s party increasingly came under scrutiny. If PTI viewed these lawmakers with suspicion, it is because some wealthy candidates have pinned hopes on the disgruntled MPAs’ votes.
The group moved to clarify its position on Friday. Ziaullah Bangash, one of the ‘likeminded’ lawmakers along with some other members of the group, said they would vote for Imran Khan’s nominees. He said they held a meeting on Friday after speculations that lawmakers were being priced and decided to support PTI’s candidates. “The party may suspect us and therefore we would like to register our votes by show of hand,” Ziaullah Bangash said, repeating Imran Khan’s demand.When reminded that show of hand was impossible being unconstitutional, he said they were calling for show of hand to prove that they were going to vote for the party candidates.