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November 13, 2019

No-trust move against NA dy speaker

Top Story

November 13, 2019

Efforts underway to coax opposition into retracting motion

By Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: Efforts are underway to persuade the sponsors of the no-confidence resolution against National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri to withdraw the motion but opposition parties want certain conditions to be met for doing that.

Speaker Asad Qaisar is mainly spearheading the endeavours to convince the opposition into taking back the resolution, an informed source told The News.

For the purpose, he said, an opposition delegation representing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulemae Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) is meeting the Speaker on the latter’s request. To buy time for such efforts to bear fruit, a two-day break was given to the ongoing National Assembly session.

According to the source, one of the opposition’s conditions is that approval of all the nine ordinances from the National Assembly in half an hour without debate amid hue and cry of the opposition MPs should be undone and normal procedure for legislation, which prescribes referral of bills to the relevant House committees, should be followed.

Another condition is that Suri should not preside over the sessions till the time his appeal is decided by the Supreme Court and that an early date of hearing should be sought. Yet another demand is that the process of issuing ordinances in such a huge number should be stopped forthwith and the parliament should be used for lawmaking.

When contacted, former Speaker and senior PML-N leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq told The News that the legislature has been belittled like never before as the Executive is doing the legislation, which is not its domain in any sense.

He said that question is not the success or defeat of the no-trust motion but it is ethically wrong that Suri should chair the session when he is faced with an alleged fraud of not 5000 votes or 6000 ballots, but 65000 votes. The Balochistan election tribunal, he said, found him guilty of such a massive swindle but Suri, by hiding behind the court stay, fondly presides over the session and bulldozes the laws through the Lower House of Parliament. Ayaz Sadiq said that when a tribunal had unseated him, he had quickly decided to go for fresh election although he had the choice of getting court stay and continue as Speaker and member of the National Assembly. “I took the decision on moral and ethical grounds because the parliament’s dignity has to be given preference.”

He said he had been disqualified despite the fact that the tribunal had found the poll machinery at fault in some instances. He said he was not found guilty anywhere in the judgment.

Before this decision, Ayaz Sadiq said, he was subjected by his rivals to unheard of insults and slurs for at least two years by calling him a fake speaker. At the time, he said, Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister had also asked him not to chair the session anymore and rather contest for the by-election on the ground that the opposition would taunt him for having been disqualified.

Another opposition leader said that purpose of filing no-confidence motion against Suri was to keep the ruling alliance on its toes and fight for survival. He said that at the same time the opposition is mulling over tabling a motion for impeachment of Dr Arif Alvi as the President in the light of the recent judgment of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in which the appointment of two Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members was declared null and void.

At least 172 votes are required for the success or defeat of the no-confidence motion. Last time, Suri had secured 183 votes to become Deputy Speaker. Secret ballot will be held possibly on Friday as required under the rules. The opposition parties presently have a total of 156 MPs. This tally doesn’t include two votes of the Pashtoon Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar.

The ruling alliance is supported by 183 members including three independents. Of them, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has 156 MPs, Muttahidda Qaumi Movement-Pakistan has 7 members, PML-Q has 5 MPs, Grand Democratic Alliance has 3 members, Balochistan Awami Party has five MPs and Balochistan National Party-Mengal has four members. Of 156 opposition votes, the PML-N has 84 members, Pakistan People’s Party has 55 MPs, Muttahidda Majlis-e-Amal has 16 members and Awami National Party (ANP) has one MP. The National Assembly consists of 341 members while one seat is vacant.