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PPP threatens parliament sit-in unless no-trust vote is tabled on Monday

Updated 20 Mar, 2022
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addresses a press conference in Islamabad. He was accompanied by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal. Photo via Twitter/@MediaCellPPP
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addresses a press conference in Islamabad. He was accompanied by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal. Photo via Twitter/@MediaCellPPP

In case the National Assembly speaker fails to table the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, the combined opposition will hold a sit-in in Parliament, also disrupting the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers moot scheduled for March 22 and 23 in Islamabad.

“I will convince the other opposition parties to join us [PPP] in the protest on March 21,” said PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Balochistan National Party-Mengal chief Akhtar Mengal in Islamabad on Saturday.

“We were waiting that the OIC conference would held peacefully without any interruption. But the government is the real problem as it is inciting to violence and the environment has been made hostile,” Bilawal said, adding the speaker had the responsibility for conducting the moot smoothly as it was being held in his House.

“Another problem is the role of the NA speaker in this whole process of no-confidence motion. For doing it fairly, the speaker will have to think beyond his party affiliation and concentrate on the welfare of democracy and the country,” he added.

Addressing the press conference, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif slammed the premier for “verbally abusing ” the opposition leaders in public rallies.

“This [the no-trust move] is a Constitutional and democratic move being brought by the opposition leaders,” Shehbaz said, adding the prime minister was ready to “cross every possible constitutional barrier” to make the no-trust motion “unsuccessful”.

He added that the government allies were giving testimonies on behalf of the ruling party’s dissident MNAs that no “horse-trading” had happened. Also, the dissident lawmakers had testified over Holy Quran that they were not involved in it, he said.

“The PTI’s dissident MNAs are using their conscience to fulfil a moral duty they deem necessary as they can’t visit their constituencies because unemployment and inflation created a disaster in the lives of people,” he said, adding they had right to fulfil their duty as it was a noble cause.

Shehbaz accused the PTI of doing horse-trading in the Senate elections last year. “The prime minister met at least six lawmakers of the PML-N in Chief Minister House in Punjab before the polls. The office of the government was used to meddle in elections and conduct horse-trading, he added.

“The current event [wherein the PTI dissident MNAs were residing in Sindh House Islamabad] was different than the prime minister’s meeting with the lawmakers. [Before Senate polls] the opposition MNAs were lured for supporting a PTI candidate for Senate chairmanship.”

He added: “We are following a Constitutional and legal route wherein all MNAs have a right to vote according to their will.”

Shehbaz warned the NA speaker, Asad Qaiser, to play the role of speaker in the ongoing political situation. Otherwise his name would be written in the history with bad words. “You have time to think about your role as NA speaker and not become a tool of the prime minister. You still have the option and time not to derail democracy in the country.”

He also warned the Islamabad deputy commissioner and inspector general against creating hurdles in the constitutional process. “Otherwise you will be held accountable in the court of law.”

The JUI-F chief also condemned the use of “derogatory” language by the government lawmakers in public gatherings.