Thursday July 07, 2022

PM wins trust vote with 178 votes: Allies stand behind Imran

Imran secured 178 votes though he needed at least 172 [votes] to stay as Leader of the House.

March 07, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Minutes after receiving the vote of confidence from the National Assembly (NA) Saturday afternoon, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government would bring electoral reforms to ensure complete transparency in elections.

Imran secured 178 votes though he needed at least 172 [votes] to stay as Leader of the House.

“In 2018 elections, the prime minister received 176 votes and today he got 178 votes,” Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser announced amid thunderous clapping.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi read a resolution in which the House reposed confidence in the prime minister under Clause 7 of Article 91 of the Constitution.

The NA hall echoed with the slogans of “Prime Minister Imran Khan’ as Speaker Asad Qaiser announced that the resolution to repose confidence in the prime minister had been passed by 178 votes.

Members from the opposition benches were not there to respond to the slogans, as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had already announced boycott of the session.

Parliamentarians from the ruling PTI, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Awami Muslim League (AML) and independent members turned up to support Imran.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Murad Saeed tried but failed to convince Mohsin Dawar to cast his vote.

Speaking in the House, Imran said electronic voting machines would be introduced so that nobody could raise a finger at the credibility of elections.

“It will be our effort that overseas Pakistanis too get their right to franchise,” he said.

He asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to get a briefing from the agencies to know as to how much money was used to purchase votes during the Senate elections.

Responding to the ECP’s statement on Friday, the prime minister his concerns over the Senate elections were not aimed at doing away with the independence of the Commission.

“The purpose behind holding the Senate elections was to defeat Abdul Hafeez Shaikh but the ECP said they conducted great elections. If these are good elections, then what are bad elections?” he said, adding that what happened in the Senate elections was a matter of shame.

He said it had shocked him more when the ECP said these were good elections.

He said the whole country had witnessed how money was used in the Senate elections and the most corrupt politician like Yusuf Raza Gilani was elected as senator.

He said women parliamentarians of his party were called up in the night and the offer started from Rs20 million for selling their votes in the Senate elections.

“I greatly appreciate the members, who came from far-flung areas and some of them were also not feeling well,” he said.

Imran once again categorically said he will never give NRO to corrupt elements even if the opposition continued its pressure tactics for the purpose.

He said the leadership of PML-N and PPP looted the country in the last 30 years adding that Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif plundered billions of rupees of the national exchequer.

“Zardari is known by the world as Mr 10 percent and documentaries were also produced on his misdeeds, while Nawaz Sharif escaped abroad after looting the national exchequer,” he continued.

Terming corruption one of the biggest issues facing the country, Imran said the entire society will have to fight this menace to secure the coming generations’ future.

He underlined the need for improving the moral standards of the nation to check this nuisance.

“Pervez Musharraf also gave NRO to corrupt people like Zardari and Nawaz Sharif,” he said and regretted that the decade prior to his government was a decade of darkness when the country’s wealth was plundered and loans increased by four times.

He vowed to continue his efforts in this direction and also assured the judiciary and the NAB of his government's every possible assistance for an early conclusion of corruption cases so that corrupt elements were punished.

Talking about Nawaz Sharif, he said the former prime minister, while pretending to be sick, was making planning and schemes to dole out money to such people.

He recalled that as the country was struggling to get out of the FATF grey list, the opposition parties attempted to blackmail the government and linked their support to getting NRO.

“The opposition blackmailed me by presenting a document of 34 clauses to make changes to the NAB law because they were fearing that I will not give them NRO,” he said.

Imran maintained that no country could prosper in the presence of a corrupt leadership, saying first a society was rendered morally corrupt before creating a culture of corruption.

"We need to realign our ideology, as the country has not been made for Nawaz Sharif and Zardari to become billionaires," he said.

He also recalled that Yusuf Raza Gilani during his tenure as prime minister refused to write letters to the Swiss authorities on court orders to bring back the country's 60 million dollars stashed in Swiss banks.

"The assets of Yusuf Raza Gilani increased disproportionately during his term as prime minister and his assets should be reassessed.”

Referring to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz, he said the prince and princess leading the two political parties never struggled in politics and never earned their livelihood.

Imran said he had been struggling since long starting from securing a place among 11 members of the cricket team to struggling for establishment of a cancer hospital and then to struggling in politics.

“But the last two and half years were hard in my struggle,” Imran Khan said.

Referring to the government’s performance, the prime minister said Pakistan had achieved economic stability and reached the stage to move forward.

He said the current account deficit remained surplus for five months for the first time in seventeen years and that happened regardless of the breakout of COVID-19 that had adversely impacted on the world economies.

“There has been a record increase in remittances. Our focus is now on bringing investment in the country and bolstering exports,” he said, adding that the number of companies registered with the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan indicated that people were ready to invest in the country.

He, however, pointed out that the country’s biggest issue was expensive power contracts signed in the past.

“We are working to reduce burden on the masses in this regard. The agreement signed with the IPPs will also help save money,” he added.

Imran said the government had launched mega projects such as Ravi City, Business Center Lahore and Bundal Island for wealth creation to retire debt.

These projects, he said, will not only bring investment in the country, but also go a long way towards protecting the environment and developing cities on modern lines.

Regarding inflation, the prime minister said efforts were on to reduce burden on the people.

He said the lower strata of the society will be given subsidies in the days to come.

Under the Ehsaas programme, direct funds will be transferred to them, he added.

The prime minister said the government would soon launch a programme to ensure that nobody slept hungry.

He appreciated the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for extending health insurance to every household in the province. He said the Punjab government was also targeting to reach every family by the end of this year.

He said a mega programme was also being introduced for the farmers to enhance agri productivity adding that cooperation in this regard had also been sought from China.

Imran said given the immense potential of Pakistan including its human resource dividend, nobody could stop the country from moving forward. He said the potential of the youth will be exploited including through their technical training.