Top leaders of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Thursday predicted doom for Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, saying time had come to send the government packing.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz in their media talks and party meetings described Prime Minister Imran Khan’s move for seeking vote of confidence in the National Assembly a ‘drama’.
Bilawal and Maryam spoke to the media after holding a meeting here. Their talks came a day after Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani of the PPP – a joint candidate of the PDM – dealt a severe blow to the government, defeating Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the Senate election from Islamabad.
Prime Minister, in an address to the nation on Thursday, said he would seek vote of confidence from the National Assembly on Saturday (tomorrow) and warned that he would “not spare anyone of you [opposition leaders] even if I lose power, until you return the nation’s money”.
At the joint press conference, Maryam played down any significance of the prime minister’s speech. “I did not listen to it [prime minister’s speech] myself but have been told that it was the speech of a person who has already lost,” she said.
Commenting on the speech, Bilawal said: "Imran Khan's choice of words shows that he is nervous now." About the election victory of Gilani on Wednesday, he said that the entire nation rejoiced at the defeat to the "puppet" government.
He also said that the time to send Imran Khan packing had come and stressed that the PDM would decide "when and where" to table the no-confidence motion against the government. He hinted that the no-confidence motion could first come against the Punjab government.
Bilawal had earlier said that Imran was seeking vote of confidence in an effort to save face. "This is all a drama,” he said, while speaking at another press conference along with two former prime ministers, Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf.
“This puppet show will soon end. He [prime minister] has lost the confidence of the National Assembly and has been rejected by his own MNAs [National Assembly members] and allies. You must submit your resignation," he added.
Bilawal stressed that the decision for tabling no-confidence motion against the prime minister would be taken with the consensus of the PDM. However, he added: “We believe, we have to save Punjab first. But all the decisions would be taken by the leadership of PDM with consensus.”
On the Senate elections, Bilawal said the premier claimed that he was aware about which lawmakers had not voted for Hafeez Shaikh. “Why don’t you expel them from the National Assembly and your party then?” he asked. “The parliamentarians don't see a future with the PTI,” he added.
On the occasion, Gilani said seeking a vote of confidence by Prime Minister Imran vindicated their stance. “He can only take the vote of confidence when the president believes that the prime minister has lost majority. So this means the president believes that he has,” Gilani added.
Separately, at a General Council meeting of the PML-N, the party leaders fired a broadside against the prime minister, saying that after the victory of Gilani, Imran and his political party had no future.
Addressing the meeting, Maryam said that 83 lawmakers of the PML-N voted for Gilani on Wednesday on the directives of the party Supreme Leader Nawaz Sharif. “I say that money did not prevail [in Senate elections]. Rather, the PML-N’s ticket prevailed,” she added.
“What you [PM Imran] have given besides disappointment and bad reputation?” Maryam questioned. “Your MNAs know that you have been brought to power for the first time. Now neither you have any future nor any political party.”
The PML-N leader said that those who thought that the PML-N will disintegrate after the court cases were proved wrong. On the contrary, she added, Nawaz Sharif’s narrative of “respect the vote” had prevailed all over the country.
She said that the PML-N’s culture was also changing. “Workers of Nawaz Sharif will no longer let you steal their votes,” she said, as she congratulated the people of Nowshera, where the PTI candidate lost in the recently-held by-election.
She also referred to the Daska by-poll, where the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has ordered re-poll after irregularities on the election day. “Their graves would be dug in Daska in the re-election,” she added.
The meeting was also addressed by the PML-N Supreme Leader Nawaz Sharif. He congratulated Gilani on his election victory on Wednesday, which, he said, showed that Imran had lost majority in the National Assembly.
“Imran Khan has lost both on the field and in the house,” he said. “Imran Khan has lost his moral authority to remain in power, he should resign immediately,” the PML-N supremo told party leaders. “He has no authority to remain as the prime minister even for a single moment.”
Sharif said that the PML-N government made Pakistan an economic power in Asia and led the country on fast track basis to joining the Group of 20 (G-20) countries. “We ended the darkness of load-shedding, we laid a network of roads and motorways,” he said.
However, he added, “what this selected person has done to the country in two and a half years is in front of everyone”. Criticising the PTI government, he further said, “This selected person has failed to solve problems of the people”.
On this occasion, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that “we respect the vote.” Addressing prime minister Imran, he challenged: “Come to the field, the decisive movement is to start on March 26” – a reference to the proposed PDM long march against the government.
On the occasion, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal informed the participants about the organisational matters of the party. He also explained the amendments proposed to the party’s constitution, which were approved by the council.
Iqbal also dilated on the preparations for the PDM long march from March 26. “The convoys will reach Islamabad by 3 pm on March 30. All provinces should schedule their arrivals in Islamabad by that time,” he said.
PML-N’s provincial presidents, Rana Sanaullah of Punjab, Shah Muhammad Shah of Sindh, Amir Muqam of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Jamal Kakar of Balochistan, former Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister Hafeezur Rehman, Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider also spoke on the occasion.
لائیو: چیئرمین پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی بلاول بھٹو زرداری اور مسلم لیگ ن کی نائب صدر مریم نواز، اسلام آباد میں پریس کانفرنس کررہے ہیں https://t.co/9JK1218kgI— PPP (@MediaCellPPP) March 4, 2021