Wednesday February 08, 2023

No-trust vote: Zardari, Fazl discuss timeline, numbers game

Sources said Nawaz Sharif, Zardari, Fazl and Shehbaz Sharif have completed consultations over modalities of no-trust vote against the government

March 04, 2022
PDM chief Maulana Fazal ur Rehman meeting with former president and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.-INP
PDM chief Maulana Fazal ur Rehman meeting with former president and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.-INP

ISLAMABAD: Meetings, telephonic contacts, wheeling and dealing, and discussions for the proposed no-confidence motion against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, and the ruling alliance’s efforts to foil all such attempts intensified on Thursday.

The opposition parties finally made a major breakthrough in their behind-the-scenes negotiations and now they seem ready to launch decisive efforts to submit no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, sources told The News on Thursday.

Sources said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former president Asif Ali Zardari, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUIF) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) President Shehbaz Sharif have completed consultations and sorted out modalities regarding the no-confidence motion against the government.

Asif Ali Zardari arrived at the residence of Maulana Fazlur Rehman where they held a long meeting after which both of them also made phone calls to Shehbaz Sharif to conclude their consultation process, sources said.

Sources said they also dilated on the draft of the no-trust motion that had been prepared by a nine-member committee comprising senior opposition members and legal experts, adding “The committee has also prepared a draft requisition for the National Assembly session having signatures of 84 members belonging to the opposition parties.”

Sources in the PMLN told this correspondent that there was some kind of deadlock over few basic issues, but finally three big-wigs -- Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman -- succeeded in developing consensus and ultimately paved the way for no-trust motion against the prime minister.

“There was resentment among some senior PMLN members over the demands of Pakistan Muslim League (PMLQ) as they thought that it was demanding too much despite having few national and Punjab assemblies seats,” they said.

Now the PMLN is ready to make seat adjustment with PMLQ in some national and provincial assemblies’ seats in Punjab province in next the general elections, sources said. Sources said Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQMP) had also different viewpoint regarding next elections, but the PMLN leadership continued to convince them to a certain point where they came near to a desired conclusion.

“JUIF chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been constantly making contacts with Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari in last couple of days and trying to end deadlock between them. Now they have almost resolved the issues related to names of the prime minister and the Punjab chief minister and duration of the interim setup,” they said.

Sources said Maulana Fazlur Rehman also made contacts with PMLQ, MQMP and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) in last two days and tried to develop consensus over the issues related to no-trust motion.

“Maulana Fazlur Rehman also made telephonic contact with Pir Pagaro Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi and sought their support to topple the PTI-led government through in-house change,” sources said.

PMLQ’s Chaudhry Shafay Hussain said on a private television channel that Prime Minister Imran Khan should be given more time and complete his constitutional term.

Sources said the federal government also accepted major demands of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and as a first step changed the Inspector General of Police (Balochistan).

They said the opposition parties have asked their members to immediately reach Islamabad and wait for the directions from the party leadership, adding “The opposition parties are also planning a joint meeting of their elected members in which they will reveal their roadmap regarding no-confidence motion in the national assembly.”

Sources said the opposition parties would also assign tasks to their members to counter the moves that are likely to be made by the government to sabotage the efforts for no-trust motion.

However, top leadership of the combined opposition Thursday decided to delay announcement of final date of no-confidence move against PM Imran Khan for next couple of days.

The decision in this regard was taken during a meeting between Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Shehbaz Sharif also joined the meeting which was held at residence of Maulana Fazlur Rehman through telephone.

Sources said the crucial announcement was postponed on request of Shehbaz Sharif due to his indisposition. “The announcement of date of no-confidence move, which was to be made on Thursday, has been delayed due to sickness of Shehbaz Sharif,” a declaration released at end of meeting said. It states that no-confidence move would help in restoration of the national economy, which had been destabilised in the last over three years.

The Maulana told the media the opposition parties were all set for moving no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan and for that they would have support of sufficient number of members in lower house of the Parliament.

However, he said the real task would be to keep names of those supporting the opposition parties as secret and made parliamentarians to the Parliament House. “We are near taking the ultimate action,” he said.

He told the media Shehbaz Sharif had been sick for the last couple of days and he would hold consultation with his party leaders at his residence in Lahore on Friday (today). “Shehbaz has to finalise some more details at his party level and that is why he wants more consultation,” he said.

He said that he would ask not only the country’s institutions but also the Muslim countries that they should not recognise Imran Khan as Pakistan’s prime minister. To a question, he said an issue had surfaced after the Chaudhry brothers did not attend luncheon requested by Shehbaz Sharif at his residence.

Asked as to who would be the prime minister on success of the no-confidence motion, Fazlur Rehman said “autumn should go, whether spring comes or not”. The sources said another round of meeting between Asif Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman is also expected at former’s residence to sort some differences.

Asif Ali Zardari, however, left residence of Maulana Fazlur Rehman soon after the meeting without facing the media. Meanwhile, the senior PMLN leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also confirmed that the opposition was confident of success of the no-confidence move, having the support of more than required number of Members of the National Assembly.

“The government members are coming and contacting as they say that they will not be able to face the public with the PTI tickets in the next elections,” Abbasi said.

The draft of the no-confidence motion says that there is political instability and uncertainty in the country and the leader of the house has also lost confidence of majority of the house.

Meanwhile, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Thursday gave Imran Khan five-day ultimatum to dissolve the assemblies and leave the government or face no-confidence motion, which will send his government packing. “I am giving five days to this selected and incompetent government. The selected prime minister should resign and dissolve the assembly; otherwise, he will have to go, because now his days are numbered,” he said while addressing the participants in his party’s long march in Bahawalpur district.

On the other hand, the ruling party PTI is also making all-out efforts to fail the opposition plans. Federal Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi held an important meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday. Matters relating to political affairs and alliance with the PTI government came under discussion. Moonis Elahi promised that Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PMLQ) would continue to support the PTI-led government.

According to sources, the responsibility of coordination on matters regarding the alliance has been handed over to Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and he will remain in touch with the PMLQ leadership on political issues.

Later, in his Tweet, Moonis Elahi said, “For generations, our family has always honoured commitments. Met Imran Khan, with Asad Umar and agreed on working together for Pakistan’s betterment.”

The prime minister will also hold meetings with other coalition partners after meeting with the PMLQ leadership.

Separately, in a media talk, Foreign Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that there was no group in the PTI, but only the Imran Khan group. Regarding an allegation that the PPP was distributing money among people to win their votes, he said: “The formula of ‘note [money] from the PPP, and vote for Imran Khan’ was not a bad.

He said the opposition was claiming that some PTI leaders were contacting them. If there were any such persons, they should leave the PTI today.