Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Shairf on Monday presented the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, which has been tabled with the support of 161 members.
Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, who was chairing the session, accepted the motion after a head count of those in favour of it being tabled.
After tabling of the motion, the deputy speaker adjourned the session till 4pm, Thursday, when the motion will be discussed in the lower house of parliament.
The flurry of political activities was expected in the National Assembly on Monday (today) as it met with several agendas – including the united opposition’s no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan – as both sides of the aisle made efforts to ensure full attendance of their lawmakers in the lower house of parliament session.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on March 25 adjourned the house session till Monday, without tabling of the no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan, following the parliamentary tradition on a parliamentarian’s death, as the opposition cried foul.
According to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, the voting on the no-confidence motion would likely be conducted on April 4 if the august house allows the tabling on Monday. Citing “inside information,” the interior minister on Sunday claimed that the opposition would not get anything from the no-trust move and Premier Imran would emerge as a more popular leader.
He had also hinted at a bigger outcome for the PM in case the latter lost the confidence vote or win the next general elections.
As per the house business, from the day the resolution is moved, it “shall not be voted upon before the expiry of three days, or later than seven days”.
Moreover, both sides of the aisle are also trying to woo the coalition partners as the ruling party got a major blow on Sunday when Jamhoori Watan Party decided to part ways with the ruling party and its chief Shahzain Bugti, who is also the premier’s aide, announced his resignation from the federal government citing the government’s “lack of attention.”
As things stand, there are currently 340 members in the 342-member National Assembly. The ruling PTI has 156 seats with its allies having 22 seats. But, after Sunday’s development, the number of treasury members has now reduced to 177 in the lower house of parliament. And, the opposition has the support of 162 MNAs.
The PML-Q, the Balochistan Awami Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan — the three major government allies having 17 MNAs — have yet to decide which side they are on. These parties are still negotiating with both the government and opposition parties.
In addition to this, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and the Balochistan Awami Party have announced their intention to show their allegiance days before the no-trust vote. Both parties had meetings with the ruling party leadership and opposition leaders. However, the PML-Q, which has also been termed as a “decider” by the political experts, was yet to state their position in the current situation.
The Grand Democratic Alliance, which is led by Inter-provincial Coordination Minister Fehmida Mirza, has announced their support for the premier. But, sources told Aaj News that the PTI has so far not convinced the estranged lawmakers from the Tareen group to join them over unmet demands and reservations.
PM Imran on Sunday claimed that he had a written piece of evidence that foreign forces were trying to topple his government through the opposition’s no-confidence motion. “We also know about those who have assembled these people (the opposition parties) but the time has changed. This is not the era of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he had said while addressing a party gathering at the parade ground in Islamabad.
“This is the era of social media. Nothing can be hidden. Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know from what places attempts are being to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest,” he had added.
Furthermore, the federal capital, which is now the centre of the political activities, would today host the PML-N’s gathering that had marched from Lahore with its “end inflation march”. The JUI-F and other opposition parties would also participate
South Punjab province bill
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday submitted a government-sponsored constitution amendment bill seeking the creation of the south Punjab province and asked the NA Speaker to take it to the next assembly session.
FM Qureshi had demanded of the opposition to support as the latter had also called for such a demand.
Holding a bill for a separate province of South Punjab, FM Qureshi said the ruling party has fulfilled its promise to the people and lauded the government’s legal team on the development. “We are trying to give those [South Punjab people] a separate province status,” he said, adding that such a thing was an old demand of the people. He was of the view that the opposition leaders could set “a new example” by supporting the bill. “I appeal to the people of southern Punjab to demand of their MNAs to approve the bill.”
FM Qureshi had also claimed the government did not delay the bill as it followed several processes.
The National Assembly secretariat on Sunday issued a 26-point agenda for Monday’s sitting, which included the presentation of two ordinances, besides resolutions seeking extension in the constitutional life of three other ordinances. Interestingly, two of the ordinances have already expired.
The united opposition on March 8 submitted the requisition notice under Article 54 of the Constitution and the no-confidence resolution against the prime minister under Article 95.
According to Article 54, once a National Assembly session has been requisitioned with signatures of at least 25 per cent of its members, the speaker has a maximum of 14 days to summon a session.