Wednesday June 12, 2024

In case of no-confidence move… Buzdar may take a leaf from ‘CM Nawaz’ ousting bid in 1989

By Sabir Shah
March 05, 2021

LAHORE: If the opposition decides to table a no-confidence motion at any point in time against sitting Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, he can take a leaf from his predecessor Nawaz Sharif, who had managed to retain power by a vote of 152 to 106 in 1989.

However, nobody is sure whether Usman Buzdar would opt to follow in the footsteps of his party leader Imran Khan and seek a confidence vote on his own, or wait for his political foes to give him tough time on the assembly floor and take advantage of a frail majority his government enjoys in Punjab currently.

The Benazir Bhutto-led PPP government in Islamabad had decided to oust Nawaz, after the tussle between Islamabad and Punjab had intensified. On many occasions, Nawaz had refused to receive the country's female premier at Lahore airport, and mutual mud-slinging used to be order of the day.

The no-confidence motion against Nawaz was actually the beginning of the worst kind of horse-trading in the country, or the notorious ‘Changa Manga politics’, as it is called in the country’s history. The assembly members were reportedly roped in by both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif for their own ends.

At that time, the IJI had 108 seats in the Punjab Assembly, the PPP had 93 seats, 33 were independents, and six belonged to other parties. There were 240 general seats, 12 reserved for women and eight for non-Muslims.

Of 260 total votes, 258 were polled. Nawaz had received 152, and 106 were cast against him. Nawaz got 44 more votes than his party’s strength. Even if he had got all independents and other parties’ votes, he still had got five additional votes, which must have come from the PPP.

As history tells, some “hidden hands behind the curtains” had played a role in this political turmoil too, and helped Nawaz Sharif come to the fore as Benazir Bhutto’s most-feared political enemy for many years to come.

Nawaz Sharif became Pakistan’s prime minister in November 1990, while he was heading the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, and Benazir had to sit on the opposition benches.