Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz has said that army and ISI chiefs should not have met Prime Minister Imran Khan following the ruling party’s shock defeat in Senate’s coveted Islamabad seat as it sends out “wrong signals”.
Addressing the media and flanked by senior party leaders in Islamabad on Friday, she came down hard on the prime minister for “dragging the institutions into politics” despite multiple warnings by the country’s security apparatus in this connection.
The PML-N stalwart said that the meeting, which reportedly took place at the PM Office on Thursday, was not needed at this point in time when the embattled premier, who is often criticised for military’s backing, had lost command of the parliament’s trust.
State institutions must end their support to PM Imran, she said, adding that they should restrict themselves to their constitutional role.
The Prime Minister Office, which usually issues press releases of such high-level interactions, stayed mum on yesterday’s reported meeting. However, experts linked it to prevailing political situation of the country following Wednesday’s National Assembly showdown.
This was the sixth time when COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI chief Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed had called on Prime Minister Imran in last couple of months.
PDM – the alliance of a dozen opposition parties – pulled off a spectacular upset in March 3 Senate elections as Yousuf Raza Gilani outvoted Hafeez Shaikh by a slim margin of five votes. Gilani bagged 169 votes against 164 of his rival, while seven votes were rejected.
Following the PTI candidate's shocking defeat, members of the opposition also started questioning the moral justification of Prime Minister Imran Khan to stay at the helm while the incumbent government accused the opposition of indulging in corrupt practices to win the hotly-contested Senate elections.
Accusing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of allegedly protecting those who made money by holding Senate elections through secret ballot, Prime Minister Imran in his address to the nation on Thursday had said that the ECP’s failure to hold fair and transparent elections had damaged the country’s morality and democracy.
The premier had added that corruption took place right under the ECP’s nose and what happened in the Senate elections was a reflection of all the problems of the country.
The top poll regulating authority however rejected the premier’s criticism aimed at the institution in a letter addressed to him, saying that it “won’t buckle under pressure”.
President congratulated for realising PM has lost confidence
Maryam Nawaz, in today's presser, also "congratulated" President Arif Alvi for "finally understanding that the prime minister had lost the confidence of the people".
She read out Article 91(7) of the Constitution and said the prime minister calling a vote of confidence means that the president has asked for one.
"The Prime Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, but the President shall not exercise his powers under this clause unless he is satisfied that the Prime Minister does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the National Assembly, in which case he shall summon the National Assembly and require the Prime Minister to obtain a vote of confidence from the Assembly," states Article 91(7) of the Constitution of Pakistan.
"I want to congratulate the president for finally realising that the prime minister has lost the confidence of the people and his party members," said Maryam.
Prime Minister Imran is set to seek a confidence vote in the National Assembly on Saturday in an apparent move to counter the opposition’s ability to challenge the legitimacy of his government. The move comes after the ruling party lost the Islamabad general seat to the opposition in the recently held Senate elections.
"Imran Khan blaming his own members of being sell-outs says a lot about his party. And these are the same members that he will now seek a vote of confidence from."
Reiterating the opposition's stance that the premier is "selected", the PML-N leader said the government will not be any good if PM Imran wins the confidence vote after "bullying and harassing his own members".
When asked about the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) choice of a future prime minister, Maryam said the "decision will be taken in time" and added that "Raja Farooq Haider is the prime minister in her heart".