ISLAMABAD: The combined opposition on Tuesday finally submitted a notice of resolution of no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan along with the requisition to summon a session of the lower house of the Parliament in the National Assembly Secretariat.
Amid claims it enjoyed support of majority of members for the no-confidence resolution, former Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Khawaja Saad Rafique (PMLN), Syed Naveed Qamar and Shazia Marri (PPP), Shahida Akhtar Ali (JUIF) and others submitted the notice of no-confidence resolution requisition in the National Assembly Secretariat. The opposition lawmakers have been told to stay in Islamabad for 20 days.
The requisition bears two-point agenda for the National Assembly which is to discuss and vote on the resolution for a vote of no-confidence against the prime minister under Clause (1) of Article 95 and to elect the new leader of the house under Article 91 of the Constitution in case of success of opposition’s move. The combined opposition, which itself is represented by 162 members in the National Assembly, is confident of having the support of required number of parliamentarians for success of the resolution.
The notice has been signed by 152 opposition members while the requisition bears the signatures of 86 parliamentarians. The opposition claims it also enjoys the support of 28 lawmakers from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and government’s allies.
About securing government members’ support, sources claimed PMLN engaged 16 PTI lawmakers, PPP four and JUI-F two. The PMLN also claims that six other PTI members are also in contact with it.
As per Rules and Procedures of Conduct of Business of House, the government has maximum 21 days to keep members of PTI and its allies in the House loyal. As per Rule 37(6) of Rules of Procedures of Conduct of Business in the House, the resolution of no-confidence will not be voted upon before the expiry of three days or later than seven days from the day the resolution is moved in the National Assembly.
As per the rules, the speaker is bound to summon the requisitioned session not later than 14 days from the date of submission of requisition in the National Assembly Secretariat. However, the opposition’s leaders have different views as Syed Naveed Qamar said the no-confidence is required to be voted upon within seven days as they had submitted the notice of resolution in the National Assembly Secretariat on Tuesday. PMLN member Ahsan Iqbal, however, said the resolution was required to be taken up within 14 days.
On the other hand, the speaker is facing a difficult situation as the two-day OIC session of Foreign Ministers is scheduled to start on March 22 (after 14 days). Ahsan Iqbal, however, feels that the speaker is empowered to convene the National Assembly session at other venues like the Jinnah Convention Centers.
The trio of opposition leaders — President Pakistan Democratic Movement and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PPP Parliamentarians President Asif Ali Zardari and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif — expressed their confidence that they will get more than 172 votes in the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan and will bring the members to the House.
“There is no precedent for the devastation caused to the economy by the selected prime minister-elect during the last three and a half years, and 220 million people of the country have been mortgaged with hefty loans,” said Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and President PML-N Shehbaz Sharif while addressing a joint press conference here on Tuesday with former president Asif Ali Zardari and PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman after the opposition parties submitted the resolution against the Prime Minister.
Presenting the charge sheet against the PM, PMLN President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said the joint opposition conferred on Monday and decided that the no-confidence motion would be submitted in the National Assembly today. “We kept this as a secret and everyone obeyed it, today all the parties signed the requisition and no-confidence motion with their members, and we have submitted it,” he said.
Accusing the PTI government to claiming the development projects of the previous government, he said the PTI government had reinstalled plaques of the development projects which were initiated by the previous government and was claiming them as their own projects. “They criticized the CPEC project when they were in the opposition; however, they are now taking credit for it,” he said.
He said the PTI government has angered Pakistan’s international allies who stood by the country in war and peace. “The language used against the European Union was inappropriate so much so that not a single word can be repeated here,” he said.
The opposition leader said the opposition has taken a decision to bring the no-confidence motion after considering seriously according to the wishes of the people. “With the grace of Almighty Allah, this movement will be successful,” he said.
Shehbaz Sharif said they put the daughters and sons in jail in the name of accountability. “It was not accountability but the worst political victimization,” he said. The opposition leader said that now it was being said the no-confidence motion was an external conspiracy.
“Is Foreign Funding Case external conspiracy? The country’s economy was destroyed by hefty borrowing, is this also an external conspiracy? Are unemployment, buying expensive gas, most expensive electricity also international conspiracies,” he questioned.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari said that in the present situation, we, the friends of the opposition, thought that if not now, then never, because this process is going on and on and it will get so bad that no one will be able to make it. “We consulted with each other to get the country out of trouble together and the people of Imran Khan’s party are upset and annoyed with him,” he said. He said the time has come to replace the ‘incompetent’ with a dignified leader. Zardari was optimistic about securing over 172 votes.
PDM President and JUIF chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, said that during the general elections of 2018, the PTI had “looted the mandate of voters.” He said the opposition sees the true face of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “We know your true identity and the evils and filth of your mind,” he said.
Fazlur Rehman said the opposition has united in national interest, and the no-confidence motion would succeed. He was of the view that previously Pakistan had no enemies; however, because of the PTI government, several countries were now against Pakistan. “We believe in success and the nation would soon hear good news of success of the no-confidence motion,” he claimed.
The PDM president said false promises were made with the people. He said no one opposed the US like they did but they did so in a democratic manner. “We have rejected gun politics,” he said.
“We have exposed the real faces of these elected rulers through our rallies and marches. We are not ashamed. What we have said has become a reality and is in front of the common man,” he said.
When President Asif Ali Zardari was asked that Prime Minister Imran Khan had warned the opposition of taking on it if the no-confidence motion failed, Asif Ali Zardari replied: “Been there, done that.”
In response to another question, Zardari said that no-confidence motion was not allowed to succeed in 1989 despite opposition by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the establishment, adding it was a different matter that Ghulam Ishaq Khan dissolved the assembly, but now the president did not have that authority. To a question, Shehbaz said we are in touch with the Balochistan National Party, we have also met MQM-Pakistan and we will also contact those in the PTI whose conscience has awakened.
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