The opposition’s plan to introduce a no-confidence motion against the government is apparently gaining steam, with its leaders claiming that they have enough lawmakers from the ruling party on its side to pull it off and secret meetings taking place for the purpose.
Talking to the media after attending a court hearing in Lahore, PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah claimed that the opposition had the support of "more than enough" government lawmakers required to make the no-trust motion successful.
He added that the PTI lawmakers were ready to jump ship and reaching out to the opposition. “[We have] More than enough people to abolish their [government] vote of confidence,” he added.
He claimed that the ruling PTI’s lawmakers and its coalition partners no longer wanted to support the incumbent government and contest the next general elections from its platform.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an anti-government opposition alliance, had recently announced bringing a no-confidence motion against the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan as well a long march on Islamabad on March 23.
Also, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) remains cagey about confirming whether or not Shehbaz Sharif met disgruntled PTI leader Jahangir Tareen as the reports about the two going into huddle make rounds.
Pressed to share details of the meeting, PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah refused to confirm or deny the veracity of the reports, saying clarification on the matter would not be in their favour.
Meanwhile, the party’s spokesperson, Marryium Aurangzeb, when posed the same question, said that she does not know anything in this regard.
Interestingly, the spokesperson said this at a press conference held at PML-N’s central secretariat, which is at walking distance from the party president’s residence.
On the other hand, a member of the Tareen-led faction maintained the ambiguity as well, saying that although he tried to contact the disgruntled PTI leader, he could not get through it.
Previously, it was reported that Tareen held a long meeting with Sharif, wherein the option of a no-confidence motion was discussed. The reports claimed that both were ready to work out ways of moving ahead together, before and after the no-confidence motion.
They had also claimed that the Tareen group had conditionally offered its support to the opposition party in return for the assurance of National and Punjab Assemblies’ tickets. To this, reports added, PML-N said that some people could be accommodated but not all, and that too in areas where their own candidate was in a vulnerable spot.
Sanaullah, while talking to the media after his court hearing, said that more people were ready to abandon the government than required to pass the vote of confidence in the parliament. He said that the opposition parties were in contact with several lawmakers from the treasury benches who were ready to jump ship prior to the no-confidence motion.
He also said that the PML-N, along with other opposition parties, would decide whether to move a no-trust motion only after having a comfortable majority in the house. He added that PTI’s lawmakers and their coalition partners no longer wanted to support Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government.
The PML-N provincial president said that people too should take to roads if they want opposition parties to get them rid of this government. He said that they were considering to rally on the same venues where PTI holds its rallies to make it clear who actually has the public’s support.
A member of the Tareen group said that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) should first come forward with its plan and move past mere threats to the government. He said that the Tareen group will decide once the PDM moves forward with their plan.
When asked about Information Minister Fawad Chaudary’s presser during which he had claimed that the Tareen group would not leave PTI, he said that Fawad has a good working relationship with them.
Marriyum, in her press conference, said that she felt pity for the prime minister, who has been “stripped of all his powers”.
“The days of Prime Minister Imran in the PM House are numbered and he knows it too which is why Imran has started spewing more and more venom in his speeches,” she said.
“The people of Pakistan are crushed under the load of Imran’s corruption and incompetence and there is not one speech in which he has talked about anything to give relief to the people.”
Also read: Jahangir Tareen group may join hands with opp: sources
The spokesperson said that despite a “vicious smear campaign, brutal media trial, most tyrannical persecution, and worst political victimisation campaign” against Nawaz Sharif, the recent polls showed that Nawaz was still the most popular leader among the masses.
“These are the reasons why he screams in desperation during his speeches. But the people of Pakistan must know that all these are signs that their misery is about to end and this despotic rule of Imran Khan is near its end,” she said.
She also said that national institutions were blindly following the orders of the premier and had become instruments in this “vicious victimisation campaign”.
Commenting on PM Imran ridiculing the no-confidence motion, she said that the premier should know that he is not close to being sent home rather he had already been sent home.
“The trust vote is a mere formality,” she added.
In March last year, the lower house of parliament had reaffirmed its confidence in PM Imran by voting in his favour.
The premier had bagged 178 votes -- six more than the magical number of 172 -- in a National Assembly session specifically convened for the purpose by the president but boycotted by the PDM.
Sanaullah, whose party is part of the alliance, further said after entering their ‘comfort zone,’ the PML-N along with other opposition parties would decide whether to first move a no-trust motion in the Punjab Assembly or the National Assembly.
While responding to a question, he said that if the PTI-led government was not wary of the opposition’s no-confidence bid, then why it was planning to give ministries to its allies and woo them through development funds.
Sanaullah also maintained that PM Imran was not concerned about the deteriorating law and order situation in the country, adding that the premier only held meetings to mull ways to victimise his opponents.
The PML-N Punjab president said that nothing could be proved in the drug case filed by Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) against him in 2019.
Similarly, he said despite the passage of three years no corruption allegation had been proved against other opposition members.
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