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Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal claim allies no more part of coalition govt

By Asim Yasin & Zia-ur-rehman
March 23, 2022
Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal claim allies no more part of coalition govt

ISLAMABAD: The government ally parties are no more part of the coalition government while Prime Minister Imran Khan has lost the confidence of majority of the National Assembly members, which is why he is running away from voting on the no-confidence resolution.

This was the consensus opinion of Opposition leader in the National Assembly and President PMLN Shehbaz Sharif, and Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who held telephonic consultations on Tuesday on the issue of no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The opposition leaders also expected a positive announcement from the government allies about the no-confidence motion in a day or two. Top opposition leaders are likely to meet again soon to finalise their strategy.

The two leaders agreed that the delaying tactics, being used by the PTI government, instead of facing no-confidence motion, were intolerable. Both agreed that the opposition parties would not forgive Imran Khan over his economic crimes against people. “Imran Khan and his followers will not be allowed to flee,” they resolved.

The telephonic talk was part of ongoing consultations among the opposition leaders on daily basis about the no-confidence motion. Sources said both decided to formulate a strategy for the upcoming session of the National Assembly on March 25.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) head Maulana Fazlur Rehman Tuesday claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had been isolated completely, and his government in Islamabad no longer enjoyed the support of its coalition partners. He was confident that after his meeting with Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQMP) leaders, the major ally of the ruling party in Centre, would announce support to the opposition in two, three days.

“The opposition is in contact with all allies of the PTI government and the success of the no-trust motion against PM Imran Khan is certain,” Fazl said while talking to the media along with the MQMP’s convenor Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui after his meeting at the latter’s headquarters.

The Maulana, who is also the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl’s chief, said he was returning from the MQMP’s headquarters satisfied over the harmony between the positions of the PDM and the MQMP on the current political situation. “It may take the MQMP two or three days to make a final announcement and formally support the opposition.” He said that all major opposition parties had a complete understanding with the MQMP and invited it to join the opposition alliance against the incumbent government.

Siddiqui, on the occasion, said that the MQMP was expecting the government to, at least, give it some reasons to stay with the ruling alliance. “If the prime minister does not have authority over several issues, then what is the use of such democracy and government that fails to benefit people?” he said adding that the MQMP respects Maulana Fazlur Rehman and gives weightage to his opinion and advice. “But unlike other political parties, the MQMP is functioning within ‘special circumstances’. He said that the opposition parties were fortunate that they were not facing those. “The opposition parties are allowed to do free politics; their offices are open and their workers are not missing,” Siddiqui said. “But despite being in the government, we are heavily constrained and not allowed to conduct politics freely, our offices remain closed and over 100 workers are missing,” he claimed. Siddiqui also said the MQMP has been pushed against the wall and left with no political space in the past few years and therefore it has to take every decision carefully.

Sources in both parties privy to the developments told The News that Fazl and other opposition leaders will guarantee a settlement between the MQMP and the Pakistan People’s Party-led Sindh government to pave the way to ensure support of the MQMP, a critical ally of the ruling PTI with seven votes in the National Assembly, a guarantee that the party made conditional to its joining the alliance.