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GDA says won't take part in vote of confidence

Top Story

March 6, 2021

KARACHI: Upset with the PTI for not helping win Pir Pagara's brother a Senate seat from Sindh, the GDA has announced not to take part in Saturday's (today) vote of confidence being sought by the prime minister, though the Sindh governor and other important PTI leaders are trying to win over Pir Pagara's critical support. The GDA has also clarified that their support hinges on an inquiry and subsequent action against six ‘dissident’ MPAs of PTI who did not vote for its candidate Pir Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi in the Senate polls.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) has sent evidence to the prime minister of ‘horse-trading’ of six PTI MPAs in the Sindh Assembly, who voted for the PPP’s candidates, helping the ruling party in the province to gain one extra seat from the province.

The PTI, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and GDA, as part of the combined opposition in Sindh, had jointly fielded five candidates — three for general seats and one each for the seats reserved for technocrats and women — for the March 3 Senate elections. Of the five candidates, two each belonged to the PTI and MQM-P and one belonged to the GDA. Whereas the PTI and MQM-P managed to secure their four seats, GDA candidate Rashidi could not win.

GDA MPAs Hasnain Mirza, Sheharyar Khan Mehar, Nusrat Sehar Abbasi, Nand Kumar Goklani, Arif Mustafa Jatoi and Rafique Banbhan, in a press conference on Friday, alleged that Rashidi could not win because of defections within the PTI.

“With the support of the GDA’s 14 MPAs, the PTI and MQM-P won four seats from Sindh,” Mirza said. “But in return, six MPAs of the PTI did not vote for GDA's candidate Rashidi and instead supported the PPP.” The proof, along with the names of the six MPAs, have been despatched to Prime Minister Imran Khan to take action against them, the GDA leaders said.

Nusrat said if the PTI did not disclose the names of its defecting MPAs, the GDA would name and shame them publicly. “The GDA was the party that spoiled Sindh chief minister's plan of winning more seats in the Senate than its numerical strength in the assembly,” she said.

A GDA leader privy to the matter told The News that the PPP succeeded in ‘purchasing’ the votes of six PTI MPAs. “These MPAs were asked to spoil their vote instead of voting for the PPP candidates,” he said. “The rejection of votes in Rashidi’s panel caused his defeat and win of the PPP’s candidate.”

Meanwhile, GDA’s National Assembly members Fahamida Mirza, Ghous Bakhash Khan Mahar and Saira Bano have decided to dissociate themselves from today’s vote of no confidence. The decision was taken by GDA chief Pir Syed Sabaghutullah Shah Rashdi alias Pir Sahab Pagara after the defeat of his younger brother Pir Syed Saddruddin Shah Rashdi in the Senate election. Pir Sahab Pagara believes that PTI members in Sindh Assembly did not vote for his brother which led to his defeat.

The PML-F sources said that 14 GDA members in the Sindh Assembly voted for the PTI candidates, but not a single MPA from PTI voted for Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah. According to sources, the GDA chief was so piqued by the “PTI betrayal” that he did not repsond to phone calls from top offices in Islamabad.

The message has been communicated to the PM House. Meanwhile, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail is trying his level best to win back the GDA’s support during the vote of no confidence, while the latter is reluctant to back the prime minister.