The Opposition has again filed a no-confidence motion against National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri. The reasoning is similar to the events that led to the previous call for a no-confidence vote against him — failure to follow the rules. The last time, however, the Opposition was 'appeased' by the government, which was a surprise considering the wrongs they had accused him of committing. We will have to wait and see if they are serious this time or if the motion is just another bargaining chip.
Thursday's no-confidence vote followed a wild day in the lower house, as an astounding 21 bills were passed despite the Opposition's attempt to boycott the session. The no-confidence vote partly stems from this. Suri ignored opposition requests for quorum calls — the hall was largely empty — and instead 'suspended the rules'. Interestingly, Speaker Asad Qaiser also ignored a quorum call earlier in the day, but no threat of formal procedure has been initiated against him.
The motion itself says that all of Thursday's legislative business was done in an illegal manner, and the voices of the people were suppressed because the Opposition was not allowed to be heard. It also calls back to Suri's earlier deseating over alleged election fraud in his constituency. The decision of an Election Tribunal and the Election Commission of Pakistan was stayed by the Supreme Court almost two years ago, with a verdict still awaited. The document argues that Suri shouldn't be deputy speaker anyway, considering that his membership of the house remains subject to court approval. It also notes several alleged violations, including showing favouritism to the government and approving bills that had never been sent to standing committees.
To get the motion to pass, the Opposition needs to get nine members of the ruling coalition to join them, which may well be a steep ask. At the same time, politics makes strange bedfellows. It would not be surprising to find minor coalition partners willing to break from the PTI in return for concessions, such as support to take over from Suri or positions in parliamentary committees. Also, consider the timing. The next major agenda item is the budget. Causing shakeups in the ruling coalition is a sure way to get concessions, both for the Opposition and ruling coalition parties.
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